Functional roles of lower-limb joint moments while walking in water

Tasuku Miyoshi, Takashi Shirota, Shin Ichiro Yamamoto, Kimitaka Nakazawa, Masami Akai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To clarify the functional roles of lower-limb joint moments and their contribution to support and propulsion tasks while walking in water compared with that on land. Design. Sixteen healthy, young subjects walked on land and in water at several different speeds with and without additional loads. Background. Walking in water is a major rehabilitation therapy for patients with orthopedic disorders. However, the functional role of lower-limb joint moments while walking in water is still unclear. Methods. Kinematics, electromyographic activities in biceps femoris and gluteus maximums, and ground reaction forces were measured under the following conditions: walking on land and in water at a self-determined pace, slow walking on land, and fast walking in water with or without additional loads (8 kg). The hip, knee, and ankle joint moments were calculated by inverse dynamics. Results. The contribution of the walking speed increased the hip extension moment, and the additional weight increased the ankle plantar flexion and knee extension moment. Conclusions. The major functional role was different in each lower-limb joint muscle. That of the muscle group in the ankle is to support the body against gravity, and that of the muscle group involved in hip extension is to contribute to propulsion. In addition, walking in water not only reduced the joint moments but also completely changed the inter-joint coordination. Relevance It is of value for clinicians to be aware that the greater viscosity of water produces a greater load on the hip joint when fast walking in water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-201
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb 1


  • Functional role of lower-limb joint moments
  • Synergistic hip extension muscles
  • Walking in water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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