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Kinematics and kinetics of gait on stilts: Identification of risk factors associated with construction stilt use

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This study investigated kinematics and kinetic strategies and identified risk factors associated with gait on stilts. A six-camera motion-analysis system and two force platforms were used to test 20 construction workers for straight walking or turning, with or without carrying tools while wearing safety shoes or stilts at different heights. The results indicated that gait on stilts is characterised by increases in stride length, step width and the percentage of double support period, decreases in cadence, minimum foot clearance and a weaker heel-strike and push-off. Stilts place greater joint loadings on lower extremities to compensate for the added weight and limitation in joint mobility. Smaller foot clearances found for gait on stilts constitute an increased risk for tripping over obstacles. Workers may need to avoid prolonged use of stilts to alleviate stresses on the joints. This study was conducted to determine to what extent stilts alter the gait strategies and to explain the compensatory movements. Prior to this study, there has been little substantive research to evaluate the stresses and potential injuries associated with stilts.
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Keywords: balance; construction; gait; stilts; tripping

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA 2: Biomechanics-Ergonomics Research Laboratories, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati Medical College, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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