Shirley Rietdyk

Research Interests:

The research focus of the Biomechanics Laboratory is the interaction of the neural and mechanical systems in mobility, posture and balance. In particular, how does the nervous system integrate the visual and sensory information and coordinate the muscle activity to develop safe, balanced and skillful movement? The mechanical system is very unstable with a high center of mass, a small base of support, and three joints in the support limbs. Yet, we move about and interact with the environment with little conscious thought. Disease or aging may lead to delays and degenerations in the balance control system. Can we provide interventions which maintain mobility and quality of life for these individuals?

Research Website

Enterpreneurial Activities: SmartGait, a wearable device to assess gait


Ph.D. (1999), Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Canada
M.S. (1994), Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Canada
B.S. (1992), Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Canada

Selected Publications:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Chagdes JR, Rietdyk S, Haddad JM, Zelaznik HN, Cinelli ME, Denomme L, Powers K, Raman A. (2016). Limit cycle oscillations in standing human posture. Journal of Biomechanics, 49(7): 1170-1179. 
  • Heijnen MJH, Rietdyk S. (2016). Falls in young adults: perceived causes and environmental factors assessed with a daily online survey. Human Movement Science, 46: 86-95. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2015.12.007. 
  • Muir BC, Haddad JM, Heijnen, MJH, Rietdyk S. (2015). Proactive gait strategies to mitigate risk of obstacle contact are more prevalent with advancing age. Gait and Posture, 41(1): 233-239. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2014.10.005
  • Haddad JM, Rietdyk S, Claxton LJ, Huber J.  (2013). Task-dependent postural control throughout the life-span. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 41(2):123-132. Doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3182877cc8
  • Heijnen MJH, Muir BC, Rietdyk S.  (2012). Factors leading to obstacle contact during adaptive locomotion. Experimental Brain Research, 223(2): 219-231. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3253-y
  • Rietdyk S & Rhea CK. (2011). The effect of the visual characteristics of obstacles on risk of tripping and gait parameters during locomotion.  Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Feature Issue on Vision in Everyday Life.  31, 302–310. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2011.00837.x.
  • Rietdyk S & Rhea CK. (2006). Control of adaptive locomotion:  Effect of visual obstruction and visual cues in the environment.  Experimental Brain Research, 169(2): 272-8.
  • Rietdyk S, McGlothlin JD, Knezovich MJ. (2005). Work experience mitigated age-related differences in balance and mobility during surface accommodation.  Clinical Biomechanics, 20(10): 1085-1093.   
  • Winter, D.A., Patla, A.E., Ishac, M.G. & Rietdyk, S. (2001). Ankle muscle stiffness in the control of balance during quiet standing.  Journal of Neurophysiology, 85: 2630-2633.
  • Rietdyk, S., Patla, A.E., Winter, D.A., Ishac, M.G. & Little, C.E. (1999). Balance recovery from medio-lateral perturbations of the upper body during standing.  Journal of Biomechanics, 32(11): 1149-1158.  Winner of the New Investigator Award, North American Congress on Biomechanics.
  • Patla, A.E. & Rietdyk, S. (1993). Visual control of limb trajectory over obstacles during locomotion:  effect of obstacle height and width.  Gait and Posture, 1: 45-60.

Shirley Rietdyk


Lambert, Room 110A
Phone: (765) 496-6703
Fax: (765) 496-1239

The Motor Behavior Group

Center on Aging and Life Course

Health & Kinesiology, 800 W. Stadium Ave., West Lafayette, IN 47907, PH:(765) 494-3170, Fax: (765) 496-1239

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