This story started when Mohammadreza Mahaki's grandfather fell and Mohammadreza wanted to help him train his balance with individualized evidence based training. See the short animated YouTube clip where Mohammadreza explains the back story.
In 2020, Mohammadreza Mahakiand Moira van Leeuwen happily received an AMS talent grant. Their PhD projects mainly included fundamental research, and this grant allowed them to bring the fundamental findings closer to practical application, working together with Nathalie van der Velde, Sjoerd Bruijn and Jaap van Dieën. Both of them studied gait stability, and as older adults tend to be less stable, they designed a training study to improve their foot placement control, and as such their gait stability. Participants trained for six sessions by walking on a treadmill with an ankle moment constraining shoes (LesSchuh). LesSchuh is a shoe with a flexible ridge underneath the sole, that restricts shifting of the center-of-pressure in mediolateral direction.
During steady-state walking, the center-of-pressure can be shifted to correct for foot placement errors. With this correction mechanism constrained, hypothesized was that participants would have to improve their foot placement control. Across weeks, foot placement errors decreased and gait stability improved in normal walking. This study suggests a training potential of constraining ankle moments. However, future research is required to distinguish training effects of LesSchuh from possible training effects of repeated treadmill walking in itself. For more details, see their preprint.
Mohammadreza Mahaki defended his PhD thesis With falling and getting up again on November 28, 2022, and Moira van Leeuwen will defend her thesis Step by step towards more stable walking on June 28, 2023.