Gait dynamics when wearing a treadmill safety harness

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher K. Rhea, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Nonlinear dynamics quantifies gait variability patterns, which can be useful in evaluating functional ability. A commonly used nonlinear technique is detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). Safety support structures have previously been shown to alter DFA during gait. However, the effect of a nonweight-supporting treadmill harness on DFA during gait has yet to be determined. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a nonweight-supporting harness influenced the DFA alpha metric (DFA a) of variables typically used to examine gait function. Twenty participants (10 young adults and 10 older adults) were recruited for this study. Each participant completed one testing session on a treadmill consisting of three conditions: (1) no harness, (2) harnessed, but not attached to the support frame, and (3) harnessed and attached to the support frame. Participants walked for 15 min at the same self-selected speed for each condition. The gait variables of stride time, stride length, and step width for each condition were analyzed using DFA a to examine gait function. There were no significant interactions between age group and condition for DFA a of each variable. Additionally, there were no main effects for DFA a for age group or condition. These data indicate that a nonweight-supporting harness can be used for safety without impeding the emergence of natural gait dynamics when stride time, stride length, and step width are the primary variables of interest.

Additional Information

Gait & Posture, 44, 100-102
Language: English
Date: 2016
Gait dynamics, Detrended fluctuation analysis, Treadmill harness

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