Wobbly toes

Yesterday I participated in a couple fellow grad students’ study as a research subject.  They were looking at some different treadmill gait biomechanics, which meant I got to get all markered up (full body gait, so like 200 shiny balls stuck on with toupee tape, whee!) and stroll along on a treadmill at different paces. I also succeeded in kicking off my medial ankle marker at least every other trial and doing really helpful stuff like forgetting to swing my arms normally and reaching up to scratch my nose instead.  Oops…

Anyhow, the other students did end up getting some good data out of me and I ended up benefiting too…and not just cause I got to hear about their cool research & go for a nice brisk stumble on the ‘mill 😉 While doing the slow pace walking trials I realized that my balance on my right foot is still really weak – not enough to make me actually fall over or wobble when walking but enough that I had to focus much more during the slow trials to stay steady during the slow roll through stance on my right foot.  Apparently even though I can run normally now and my right foot feels pretty good overall I still have some lingering weakness/proprioception issues.  Since I don’t usually walk freakishly slowly on a treadmill I never would have noticed – and now I can work to fix that issue!

Lucky for me a recent RunnersWorld had a great series of exercises for big toe strength and single-leg balance.  So now every thesis writing break involves at least 30 seconds of marching around my apartment or cubicle like a very dedicated weirdo runner 😉

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Walking like a lizard

Walking like a lizard

I spotted this article via a link on twitter and the first thing I thought of was how insanely frustrating it must have been to get good force plate data off a lizard.  I’ve done force plate collections with little kids and it’s crazy how many trials it takes til you get one stumpy little leg stepping on one force plate cleanly (two steps on one plate = no good as far as gait data).  Add in 3 more legs, a ground-skimming belly, and a dragging tail and that’d be enough to drive any biomechanist bonkers!

Pretty cool science though and an enjoyable look at evolutionary biomechanics 🙂