KINEMATIC ANALYSIS OF THE GAIT CYCLE IN THE ELDERLY

  • Paulo Oliveira
  • José Goncalves
  • Filipa Sousa
Keywords: kinematics, gait, elderly

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this work was to analyze the kinematics of the gait cycle (GC) in a elderly group without physical activity. We wanted to compare our values to the normal pattern of the GC and with other studies. METHODS: Fifty-four elderly (35 female and 19 male) were observed. We used a video camera to record the GC (right side) and the ‘Peak 5 Measurement System’ to calculate the kinematics variables: stride time (St) stance phase time (Stt), swing phase time (Swt), single-support phase time (Sst), double-support phase time (Dst), step duration (Sdt), stride length (Stl), step length (Spl), vertical displacement of the body (Dycg), cadence (C), and horizontal velocity of the body (Vxcg).The kinematics variables were measured for the whole group and also related to sex, age, and problems (pathologies and/or gait disturbances). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The main results are presented in Table 1. we compare only the two extreme age groups to find statistically significant differences. As expected and according to other studies (Perry, 1987, Whittle, 1996, Winter, 1990, Woo et al, 1995) we observed an increase of St, Stt, Dst, Sdt and a decrease of Swt, Sst, Stl, Spl, Dycg, C and Vxcg. The differences on kinematics variables related to sex can be explained by a greater significant (p 0.05) incidence of problems at the females. Concerning to age we didn’t find an association statistically significant between age groups and problems. We observed that deviations from normal gait tend to be greater in the oldest group, however we found, Stl, Spl, and Vxcg, statistically significant only. Greater differences were found for the group with problems suggesting deviations in gait pattern from normal gait (Stt»69%; Swt»33%; Dst»18%). The group without problems presents a pattern similar to normal gait (Stt»63%; Swt»37%; Dst»13%). CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that normal gait pattern could be present in elderly. The differences could be explained by the presence of pathologies and/or gait disturbances as stated by Perry (1987), as we observed for the female group and the group with problems. REFERENCES: Perry, J. (1987). Gait Characteristics. In Therapeutic Considerations for the Elderly, New York: Churchill Livingstone. Whittle, M. (1996). Gait Analysis - an Introduction. (2ª ed), London: Reed Educational and Professional Publishing. Winter, D., Patla, A., Frank, J., Walt, S. (1990). Biomechanical Walking Pattern in the Fit and Healthy Elderly. Physical therapy 70, 340-347. Woo, J., Ho, S. C., Lau, J., Chan, S. G., Yuen, Y. K. (1995). Age-Associated Gait Changes in the Elderly: Pathological or Physiological. Neuroepidemiology 14, 65-71.