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Gait Posture. 2013 May;38(1):115-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.10.024. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Development of a symmetry index using discrete variables.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The objective of this study was to introduce and evaluate a new methodology to quantify lower extremity movement symmetry using data from the stance phase in over-ground running. Seventeen subjects completed five heel-toe over-ground running trials per leg over a force platform at 3.33±0.5ms(-1) with retro-reflective markers on both legs and the pelvis. Thirty kinetic and kinematic variables were collected and 12 were chosen as important variables for calculating symmetry based on low variance of the data and their functional relevance with respect to symmetry. The developed formula uses the integral of the absolute value of the difference between the left and right leg during the stance phase. The results were divided into a sagittal, transverse, and frontal index, as well as a global index for all three planes of motion. This enabled analyses from both general and categorical perspectives, whereby individuals could be identified as symmetrical in one plane and asymmetrical in the other. The new methodology allows for the evaluation of symmetry over the entire stance phase and accounts for time lags between left and right legs. To learn more about symmetry during particular movements, future research should include larger cohorts, use consecutive force platforms, examine the flight phase of running and include subjects that are known to have asymmetrical gait.

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