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Walking Speed, Gait Asymmetry, and Motor Variability
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Study design is among the most fundamental factors influencing collection and interpretation of data. The purpose of this study is to understand the effect of design choices by evaluating gait mechanics in healthy control participants using three primary objectives: 1) determine the repeatability of marker placement, 2) determine the effect of set versus self-selected walking speed, and 3) examine the correlation between gait asymmetry and motor variability. Ten and fifty-one healthy control participants were recruited for aim 1 and aims 2/3, respectively. Reflective markers were placed on lower-extremity bony landmarks and participants walked on an instrumented treadmill while 3D motion capture data was collected. For aim 1, this procedure was repeated at two time points 30 minutes apart. For aims 2 and 3, participants completed set and self-selected speed trials. JMP Pro 13 was used to compare joint kinetics and gait kinematics for all aims. Marker placement was repeatable between time points. Participants walked slower in the self-selected walking speed trial, which resulted in both kinematic and kinetic gait mechanics alterations. Gait asymmetry was significantly correlated with motor variability for both spatial and temporal measures. Current study findings reiterated the importance of walking speed when evaluating gait symmetry, joint kinetics, and kinematics. The decision regarding whether to utilize a set or self-selected speed condition within a study design should be made based on whether the measures of interest are independent of walking speed. Gait asymmetry and motor variability are related and should not be treated as independent components of gait.
General Audience Abstract
This study aims to evaluate gait mechanics in healthy young adults by evaluating the impact of multiple study design choices and relationships between different aspects of gait (walking). Loading and movement walking data was collected from a total of sixty-one participants. This data was then used to calculate several measures of gait including symmetry between limbs, joint ranges of motion, and variability of movement. The potential impact of study design choices including setting walking speed for all participants and evaluating loading asymmetry and movement variability independently are discussed based on the findings of the current study.
- Masters Theses