Chapter 6: Development of Human Locomotion
Locomotion is the act of moving from place to place
Locomotion is shaped by the interaction of individual, task, and environmental
Individual structural constraints: height, weight
Individual functional constraints: motivation, perceived gender association
of a skill (“skipping is for girls”), fear of falling
Environmental constraints: weather changes (e.g. snow and ice)
The First Voluntary Locomotor Efforts: Creeping and Crawling
Motor milestones must be achieved – e.g. lifting head in prone position
Environment constraints must also satisfy several conditions: flat, friction, sturdy.
Once certain rate limiters disappear, creeping and crawling occur when all four limbs
are in contact with the supporting surface. In crawling, the infant’s chest and stomach
also touch the surface. In creeping, only the hands and knees touch the surface.
Progression: crawling -> low creeping with legs moving simultaneously ->
rocking back and forth in high creep -> creeping with alternate limb move.
Sometimes infants walk on hands and feet due to environmental constraints
Walking Across the Life Span
Walking is defined by a 50% phasing relationship between the legs, as well as a
period of double support (when both feet are on the ground), followed by single
support. The pattern remains the same throughout the lifespan, however, the absolute
timing and placement change.
Gait: a pattern of locomotion where humans move using upright bipedal locomotion
e.g. walking, running, galloping, skipping, hopping.
First Steps: Characteristics of Early Walking
Flat feet, feet wide apart, short steps independent of the next, no trunk
rotation, arms up in high guards, no arm swings => improves balance
Rate Controllers in Early Walking
Rate controllers in early walking are muscular strength and balance
Infant must have enough strength and balance to support on single limb
Proficient Walking Patterns
Proficient walker controls biomechanical principles
Infant sacrifices stability at the expense of better mobility