Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2022

Document Type


First Advisor

Hill, Christopher

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)


Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE)


This capstone aimed to look into individuals’ abilities to adapt, retain, and readapt a newly-provided, typically over-exaggerated, goal knee angle for their right leg based upon feedback received and accuracy of examined gait pattern. Research was carried out using individuals aged 18-25, looking at the potential of “learning” per say, a new pattern for their rather instinctual previously formed habits for walking. Knee angle, both baseline and individuals’ attempts at goal angle, were measured with a knee brace worn throughout data collection. Participants for this study were blind in terms of what their goal LEKA (lower-extremity knee angle) was. The only information presented to participants while taking part in the study was 1 of 2 types of feedback. Types of feedback included positive, or reward feedback, and negative, or punishment feedback. Throughout the study, individuals strived to “perform” to the best of their ability in terms of meeting their goal knee angle. Collected data was analyzed to show not only if individuals were capable of adapting their typical walking pattern to match an over-exaggerated angle, but also to show which feedback type produced the best results in terms of adaptation, retention, and readaptation. Major findings indicated that all individuals were fully capable of changing their knee angle from their “baseline” or typical knee angle they have grown accustomed to while walking, as well as indications that the positive feedback strategy produced the most concise, consistent results. This assumption was based on overall consistency trends within the data, as well as learning curve, retention value, and memory of previously adapted walking patterns. Overall, programs similar to the study conducted can be beneficial additions to pre-existing care plans. Examples of settings where this type of therapy may be utilized include outpatient physical therapy facilities, as well as any inpatient, acute care setting. Implementations of a program such as this could be supplemented to any locomotor based therapy, which is oftentimes used for individuals suffering from strokes or spinal cord injuries (Mayo Clinic, 2020). For a more consistent outcome, our results display that positive reinforcement is the more reasonable type of feedback in terms of input given to an individual in therapy. Providing individuals with a reward feedback system can aid in producing the most beneficial results. This work is extremely significant when it comes to rehabilitation healthcare fields, such as physical therapy. As previously mentioned, individuals such as stroke patients, those recovering from major lower-extremity surgeries, or anyone who may have lost the ability to walk, may need help in the process of reconstructing walking habits. Providing a systematic program in which beneficial, continuous feedback is provided to individuals to help them obtain a goal knee angle when walking can significantly speed up the rehabilitation process.