• Peter Hinmon
  • Shannon Manning
  • Heidi Orloff


Arm swing during walking helps maintain balance and reduce twisting of the trunk. By limiting horizontal excursions of the body, arm swing aids in maintaining horizontal velocity (Hinrichs, Cavanagh, & Williams, 1987). When arm swing is restricted, it is predicted that there will be a greater degree of torque placed on the vertebra, increasing pressure on the intervertebral discs (Jackson, 1983; Li et aI., 2001). This may be exaggerated when adding weight, specifically to the trunk, such as when carrying a backpack. Arm swing not only aHects torsion on the spine, it also influences the lower limbs. Reciprocal swinging of the arms has been directly tied to stride rate. As arm swing is restricted, stride rate tends 10 increase (Eke-Okoro, Gregoric, & Larsson, 1997). Increased vertical ground reaction forces have also been tied to fixed-arm walking (Li et aI., 2001). Li et al. (1996) found differences between adults and children 9 years of age as they corresponded to centre of pressure under the foot. These differences were attributed to torques induced by the lower limbs because arm swing was restricted in children's walking patterns. The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of arm swing in children during load carriage.