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Gait Posture. 2013 Sep;38(4):864-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.04.011. Epub 2013 May 13.

Effects of walking speed on asymmetry and bilateral coordination of gait.

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Laboratory for Gait and Neurodynamics, Movement Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; Department of Physiology and Pharmaclology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. Electronic address:


The mechanisms regulating the bilateral coordination of gait in humans are largely unknown. Our objective was to study how bilateral coordination changes as a result of gait speed modifications during over ground walking. 15 young adults wore force sensitive insoles that measured vertical forces used to determine the timing of the gait cycle events under three walking conditions (i.e., usual-walking, fast and slow). Ground reaction force impact (GRFI) associated with heel-strikes was also quantified, representing the potential contribution of sensory feedback to the regulation of gait. Gait asymmetry (GA) was quantified based on the differences between right and left swing times and the bilateral coordination of gait was assessed using the phase coordination index (PCI), a metric that quantifies the consistency and accuracy of the anti-phase stepping pattern. GA was preserved in the three different gait speeds. PCI was higher (reduced coordination) in the slow gait condition, compared to usual-walking (3.51% vs. 2.47%, respectively, p=0.002), but was not significantly affected in the fast condition. GRFI values were lower in the slow walking as compared to usual-walking and higher in the fast walking condition (p<0.001). Stepwise regression revealed that slow gait related changes in PCI were not associated with the slow gait related changes in GRFI. The present findings suggest that left-right anti-phase stepping is similar in normal and fast walking, but altered during slow walking. This behavior might reflect a relative increase in attention resources required to regulate a slow gait speed, consistent with the possibility that cortical function and supraspinal input influences the bilateral coordination of gait.


Bilateral coordination of gait; Central pattern generator; Gait asymmetry; Gait speed

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