Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Don't shuffle on slippery surfaces

Date:
March 27, 2011
Source:
Clemson University
Summary:
Biomechanics researchers conclude that moving quickly in a forward, firm-footed stance across a slippery surface is less likely to lead to a fall than if you move slowly.

Biomechanics researchers Timothy Higham of Clemson University and Andrew Clark of the College of Charleston conclude that moving quickly in a forward, firm-footed stance across a slippery surface is less likely to lead to a fall than if you move slowly. Approaching a slippery surface slowly hinders the necessary task of shifting the center of mass forward once foot contact is made.

Related Articles


The researchers studied helmeted guinea fowl strutting along a six-meter runway that either had a rough-surface section (150-grit sandpaper) or a slippery one (polypropylene shelf liner). High-speed video recorded the action. The experiment is reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Helmeted guinea fowl react to slips much in the same way humans do, making them good test subjects, according to Higham. He and Clark are interested in how animals move and avoid injury when making their way through their environments.

Finding out how animals can respond rapidly to unexpected changes in their habitat, the scientists' stated that their research would "ultimately yield important information regarding the flexibility of physiological and behavioral systems," according to their article.

"The findings can be useful in helping humans, especially older ones, make their way across surfaces that are wet, icy or oily," said Higham. "The key to avoiding slips seems to be speed and keeping the body mass forward, slightly ahead of the ankles after the foot contacts the ground."

Slips are a major cause of falls that can cause injuries and even deaths. Slips accounted for about 44 percent of fatal and nonfatal work-related falls, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics report in 1992.

Clark and Higham not only saw that speed, foot position and body alignment made a difference, but also the slip distance. For a guinea fowl to fall, it needed to slip a minimum of 10 centimeters -- just under four inches. The distance is the same for humans, said Higham.

Guinea fowl leg joints and human knees and ankles function in similar ways: the position of the knee relative to the foot can create joint angles -- wide or narrow -- that can cause or prevent loss of balance on slippery surfaces, the scientists said. Once the knee passes the ankle during contact with slippery ground, slipping stops.

"Our study shows that there are common limb-control strategies on slippery surfaces in helmeted guineas and humans," said Higham.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Clemson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. J. Clark, T. E. Higham. Slipping, sliding and stability: locomotor strategies for overcoming low-friction surfaces. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2011; 214 (8): 1369 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.051136

Cite This Page:

Clemson University. "Don't shuffle on slippery surfaces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103610.htm>.
Clemson University. (2011, March 27). Don't shuffle on slippery surfaces. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103610.htm
Clemson University. "Don't shuffle on slippery surfaces." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324103610.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins