Characterizing the Effect of Lower Limb Dominance on Foot Kinematics During Walking
Molitor, Stephanie Lynn
Functional differences are exhibited by the dominant and non-dominant lower limbs during overtly asymmetric bilateral tasks (e.g., kicking a soccer ball). However, current biomechanical analyses of human locomotion typically assume symmetry between the limbs, and do not consider the effects of foot dominance. Previous work evaluating lower limb kinematics, ground reaction forces, and electromyography data has shown that able-bodied gait may demonstrate some degree of asymmetry, especially at the more distal joints. However, few of these works explore asymmetry in relation to lower limb dominance, and even fewer focus on foot mechanics. The current study aimed to address this knowledge gap by characterizing metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ) and medial longitudinal arch (MLA) kinematics with regards to foot dominance during able-bodied walking. Four of the five participants demonstrated increased MPJ range of motion on their dominant side, MLA range of motion responses varied, and all participants displayed increased time between heel-rise and toe-off on their non-dominant side. These findings suggest that the roles of the feet during walking may reflect the nature of the functional differences observed in more overtly asymmetric bilateral tasks, in that the dominant foot appears to play a more dynamic role while the non-dominant foot appears to play a more supportive and stabilizing role.