Measures of dynamic balance during level walking in healthy adult subjects: Relationship with age, anthropometry and spatio-temporal gait parameters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The maintenance of balance in dynamic conditions (e.g. during walking) is a necessary requirement that motor control must reach to avoid falls. However, this is a challenging situation, since to ensure the forward progression of the body, the center of mass must stay outside the base of support in the sagittal plane, and simultaneously remain inside the lateral borders in the frontal plane. Deviation from normative data of healthy subjects in dynamic balance could be used to quantify gait stability, fall risk and to provide hints for rehabilitation. However, normative data can be influenced by age, sex, anthropometry and spatio-temporal gait parameters, and such differences among subjects and leg side can hamper accurate assessment. The aims of this study were to investigate, in a group of healthy subjects: (1) possible asymmetry in dynamic balance maintenance strategies between leg sides, (2) the influence of age, sex and anthropometry on stability and (3) its dependence by spatio-temporal gait parameters. A total of 34 healthy subjects aged between 21 and 71 years, and ranging from 50.1 to 101.6 kg of body mass and from 155.0 to 188.9 cm of height were assessed on spatio-temporal and dynamic balance parameters (Foot Placement Estimator at heel strike and Margin of Stability at mid-stance) during self-selected gait. No parameter showed differences between legs. Dynamic balance parameters were influenced by sex, age, body mass and height mainly in the frontal plane. These measures were also correlated with gait speed and stride length both in the antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions. In addition also cadence and step width influenced the stability in the sagittal and frontal planes, respectively. The findings of this study confirm the symmetry in motor control of dynamic balance during self-selected gait in healthy subjects. Sex, anthropometry and spatio-temporal gait parameters have a significant effect on stability parameters, and this should be taken into account in dynamic balance studies.

Keywords

  • center of mass
  • dynamic balance
  • foot placement estimator
  • Gait analysis
  • margin of stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Measures of dynamic balance during level walking in healthy adult subjects: Relationship with age, anthropometry and spatio-temporal gait parameters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this