Dr. Jacquelin Perry was a physician and researcher who shed light on the complexities of walking. She was a leader in treating polio victims in the 1950s and again in the ’80s when the symptoms of some returned, Dr. Perry died at age 94 on March 11, 2013 in Downey, California. Her death was announced by the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where she worked for more than 60 years.
Dr. Perry earned wide attention for her work in analyzing the human gait, which she broke down into eight motion patterns governed by 28 major muscles in each leg. Her 1992 book, “Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function,” became a standard text for orthopedists, physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals.
Her clinical observations and descriptions of “loading response” were clear and had implications for many biomechanists. To break walking, running, stair-climbing and other human ambulations into discrete components, illustrated with precise photographs, Dr. Perry used ultrasound studies, motion analysis and electromyography, which traces the nerve pathways through muscle using electric charges.
Dr. Perry was an active surgeon until a brain artery blockage forced her to stop operating. She then devoted much of her time to studying the biomechanics of walking. As part of her research, she investigated how muscles and joints behave when spinal-cord injury patients propel themselves in wheelchairs, and how below-the-knee amputees are able to walk with prosthetic feet.