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J Biomech. 2012 May 11;45(8):1529-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.03.013. Epub 2012 Apr 6.

Stance and swing phase detection during level and slope walking in the cat: effects of slope, injury, subject and kinematic detection method.

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School of Applied Physiology, Center for Human Movement Studies, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0356, USA.


In quadrupeds, there have been limited comparisons of gait timing events detection (e.g., paw contact, PC and paw-off, PO) determined from kinematics and forceplates. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of different slopes (0, -27, +27°), recovery times after ankle extensor nerve injury and repair (2, 6, 12 weeks), subjects and detection methods on accuracy of kinematically derived PC and PO timings during feline walking. Right hindlimb kinematics and ground reaction forces (GRF) of 4 cats walking along a sloped walkway with embedded forceplates were recorded. A total of 963 walking cycles were analyzed. Gait timings were determined from five kinematic methods based on displacements, velocities or accelerations of hindlimb markers. GRF based 'gold standard' timings for PC and PO were used to determine the systematic and random error of kinematic timing. Systematic errors between the kinematic methods differed significantly (p<0.05). Methods based on vertical paw peak acceleration and velocity gave the smallest systematic errors for PC and PO, respectively. The smallest random errors (standard deviations) for PC and PO were demonstrated by method based on paw horizontal displacement relative to greater trochanter: 13.4ms and 6.6ms, respectively. Effects of slope and subject on systematic errors of kinematic methods were significant, whereas effects of recovery time after nerve injury were not. It was concluded that timing of gait events can be determined consistently using kinematics, although adjustments must be made to account for the systematic error which varies according to subject and slope condition.

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