Precision grip control while walking down a stair step

Daniela Ebner-Karestinos, Jean Louis Thonnard, Yannick Bleyenheuft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine whether the internal model regulating grip force (GF)/load force (LF) coordination during a brisk load increase is preserved when the lower extremities produce a perturbation during a single step-down task. We observed the coordination of the vertical ground reaction force (vGRF), GF and LF while holding a handheld object during a single step-down task. The 3 forces (vGRF, GF and LF) decreased during the start of the task. While the subject was descending, LF and GF became dissociated from vGRF and increased in value, probably to anticipate the first foot contact. Coordination of LF and GF was maintained until the maximal vGRF (knee extension). LF peaked in the same time window as vGRF, whereas GF peaked about 70 ms later. This desynchronization, which was previously observed in direct load increase on a handheld object, was interpreted to be a predictive action to ensure the smooth management of the brisk increase in load induced by the lower extremities. Incidentally, in this group, kinematic and dynamic differences were observed between men and women, which may highlight a gender-specific strategy to perform the step-down task. In conclusion, these results suggest that the internal model of precision grip is able to integrate a brisk load change, whatever its origin, and regulate the forces to provide an ideal GF to dampen a brisk load increase and secure the object.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165549
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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