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Gait parameters as predictors of slip severity in younger and older adults

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This study investigated the association between slip severity and pre-slip gait characteristics of younger and older subjects. Sixteen younger and eleven older healthy adults walked onto an unexpectedly slippery surface. Slip severity was categorized as either hazardous or non-hazardous using a 1.0 ms peak slip velocity threshold. The results showed that hazardous slips were associated with greater step lengths (normalized by leg length) (SLR), larger and more rapidly changing foot – floor angles (FFA) at heel strike, and increased cadence across the two subject groups. Older subjects were found to walk with shorter SLR and with smaller and more slowly changing FFA at heel strike compared to younger subjects. However, both younger and older subjects experienced hazardous slips at the same rate. A logistic regression model relating SLR and cadence to slip severity predicted that increased SLR and decreased cadence would result in increased probability of hazardous slip (R 2  = 0.45,  2  = 15.30, p
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Keywords: Ageing; Balance; Biomechanics; Falls; Gait; Slips

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Human Movement and Balance Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering, 749 Benedum Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA

Publication date: March 15, 2006

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