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J Biomech. 2012 Apr 5;45(6):1108-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Gait asymmetry: composite scores for mechanical analyses of sprint running.

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School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.


Gait asymmetry analyses are beneficial from clinical, coaching and technology perspectives. Quantifying overall athlete asymmetry would be useful in allowing comparisons between participants, or between asymmetry and other factors, such as sprint running performance. The aim of this study was to develop composite kinematic and kinetic asymmetry scores to quantify athlete asymmetry during maximal speed sprint running. Eight male sprint trained athletes (age 22±5 years, mass 74.0±8.7 kg and stature 1.79±0.07 m) participated in this study. Synchronised sagittal plane kinematic and kinetic data were collected via a CODA motion analysis system, synchronised to two Kistler force plates. Bilateral, lower limb data were collected during the maximal velocity phase of sprint running (velocity=9.05±0.37 ms(-1)). Kinematic and kinetic composite asymmetry scores were developed using the previously established symmetry angle for discrete variables associated with successful sprint performance and comparisons of continuous joint power data. Unlike previous studies quantifying gait asymmetry, the scores incorporated intra-limb variability by excluding variables from the composite scores that did not display significantly larger (p<0.05) asymmetry than intra-limb variability. The variables that contributed to the composite scores and the magnitude of asymmetry observed for each measure varied on an individual participant basis. The new composite scores indicated the inter-participant differences that exist in asymmetry during sprint running and may serve to allow comparisons between overall athlete asymmetry with other important factors such as performance.

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