Anticipatory postural adjustments and the latency of compensatory stepping reactions in humans

Wen Liu, Seok Hun Kim, Jason T. Long, Patricia S. Pohl, Pamela W. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A compensatory stepping response is a commonly used strategy in recovering balance control after a postural perturbation. Unlike gait initiation, the compensatory stepping often occurs without an anticipatory postural adjustment (APA), in which body weight is shifted to the swing leg first and then back to the stance leg prior to foot lifting. In postural perturbation studies using a moving platforms stepping responses without an APA were found to have shorter latency to foot lifting than trials with an APA. We studied stepping responses of healthy young adults under postural perturbation of a pulling force impulse on the subject's waist. In contrast to previous studies, the latency of foot lifting was found in the current study to be shorter in the trials with an APA than trials without an APA. Furthermore, greater amplitude of an APA was associated with a shorter latency of foot lifting. Response with an APA of large amplitude may indicate high level of determinant for foot lifting. A pause as to whether or not to initiate/complete a stepping response is suggested to be partially the cause of delayed foot lifting in trials without an APA or with small amplitude of the APA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticipatory adjustment
  • Balance
  • Compensatory stepping
  • Perturbation
  • Postural response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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