Analysis of spatial and temporal step parameters during assisted gait as a dual-task: a pilot study

[+] Author and Article Information
Carmen Ridao-Fernández

Department of Physiotherapy, Research Group “Area of Physiotherapy CTS-305”, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

Joaquin Ojeda

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacture, Research Group “Mechanical Engineering”, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

Gema Chamorro-Moriana

Department of Physiotherapy, Research Group “Area of Physiotherapy CTS-305”, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040020 History: Received November 12, 2017; Revised April 10, 2018


The main objective was to analyze the changes in the spatial and temporal step parameters during a dual-task: walking with a forearm crutch to partially unload the body weight of the subject. The secondary objective was to determine the influence of the use of the crutch with the dominant or non-dominant hand in the essential gait parameters. Seven healthy subjects performed gait without crutches (GWC) and unilateral assisted gait (UAG) with the crutch carried out by dominant hand (DC) and non-dominant hand (NDC). Gait was recorded using a Vicon System; the GCH System 2.0 and the GCH Control Software 1.0 controlled the loads. The variables were: step length, step period, velocity, step width and step angle. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test compared GWC and UAG while also analyzing the parameters measured for both legs with DC and NDC in general and in each subject. Wilcoxon test only found significant differences in 1 of the 15 general comparisons between both legs. In the analysis by subject, step length, step period and velocity showed significant differences between GWC and UAG. These parameters obtained less differences in DC. The effect of a forearm crutch on UAG caused a reduction in step length and velocity, and an increase in step period. However, it did not entail changes in step angle and step width. UAG was more effective when the dominant hand carried the crutch. The unloading of 10% body weight produced an assisted gait which closely matched GWC.

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