The adaptability of human bipedal locomotion has been studied using split-belt treadmill walking. Most of previous studies utilized experimental protocol under remarkably different split ratios (e.g. 1:2, 1:3, or 1:4). While, there is limited research with regard to adaptive process under the small speed ratios. It is important to know the nature of adaptive process under ratio smaller than 1:2, because systematic evaluation of the gait adaptation under small to moderate split ratios would enable us to examine relative contribution of two forms of adaptation (reactive feedback and predictive feedforward control) on gait adaptation. We therefore examined a gait behavior due to on split-belt treadmill adaptation under five belt speed difference conditions (from 1:1.2 to 1:2). Gait parameters related to reactive control (stance time) showed quick adjustments immediately after imposing the split-belt walking in all five speed ratios. Meanwhile, parameters related to predictive control (step length and anterior force) showed a clear pattern of adaptation and subsequent aftereffects except for the 1:1.2 adaptation. Additionally, the 1:1.2 ratio was distinguished from other ratios by cluster analysis based on the relationship between the size of adaptation and the aftereffect. Our findings indicate that the reactive feedback control was involved in all the speed ratios tested and that the extent of reaction was proportionally dependent on the speed ratio of the split-belt. On the contrary, predictive feedforward control was necessary when the ratio of the split-belt was greater. These results enable us to consider how a given split-belt training condition would affect the relative contribution of the two strategies on gait adaptation, which must be considered when developing rehabilitation interventions for stroke patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas