Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the changes in ground reaction forces (GRF), joint angular displacements (JAD), joint moments (JM) and electromyographic (EMG) activities that occur during walking at various speeds in water and on land. Method: Fifteen healthy adults participated in this study. In the water experiments, the water depth was adjusted so that body weight was reduced by 80%. A video-motion analysis system and waterproof force platform was used to obtain kinematics and kinetics data and to calculate the JMs. Results: Results revealed that (1) the anterior-posterior GRF patterns differed between walking in water and walking on land, whereas the medio-lateral GRF patterns were similar, (2) the JAD patterns of the hip and ankle were similar between water- and land-walking, whereas the range of motion at the knee joint was lower in water than on land, (3) the JMs in all three joints were lower in water than on land throughout the stance phase, and (4) the hip joint extension moment and hip extensor muscle EMG activity were increased as walking speed increase during walking in water. Conclusions: Rehabilitative water-walking exercise could be designed to incorporate large-muscle activities, especially of the lower-limb extensor muscles, through full joint range of motion and minimization of joint moments.
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