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Percept Mot Skills. 2002 Feb;94(1):265-80.

Comparison of gait patterns between young and elderly women: an examination of coordination.

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  • 1HPER Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 68182-0216, USA.


This study investigated intralimb coordination during walking in young and elderly women using the theoretical model of dynamical systems. 20 women, 10 Young (M age=24.6 yr., SD= 3.2 yr.) and 10 Elderly (M age=73.7 yr., SD=4.9 yr.), were videotaped during free speed gait and gait perturbed by an ankle weight. Two parameters, one describing the phasing relationship between segments (mean absolute relative phase) and the other the variability of this relationship (deviation in phase), were calculated from the kinematics. Two-way analysis of variance (age and weight) with repeated measures on weight indicated that during the braking period the weight increased the mean absolute relative phase between the shank and the thigh and decreased it between the foot and the shank. The Elderly women had significant smaller values for the mean absolute relative phase between the shank and the thigh during the braking period. For the same period, deviation in phase increased for the segmental 'relationship between the shank and the thigh. The findings suggest that changes in intralimb coordination take place with asymmetrical weighting and the aging process. These changes are most clearly present during the braking period.

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