Article Title



William F. Haefele1, Dave P. Heller1, Sarah E. Grant1,2 & Dillon Youngman1. 1Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO; 2University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

The speed at which transitions occur between gait patterns has previously been shown to depend on multiple factors such as leg length, energy usage, state of fitness, and cognitive load. This suggests that gait transition is a complex phenomenon that warrants the investigation of other potential factors. One potential factor influencing gait transition could be having knowledge of one’s current gait speed. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of knowledge of performance, in this case treadmill speed, on the speed at which gait transition occurs. METHODS: Healthy, college-aged participants (6 men and 6 women) were tested on a treadmill on two separate occasions. In one session, participants had access to visual feedback regarding their gait speed. In the other session, this feedback was blocked. In both sessions, treadmill speed was randomly adjusted to between 40%- 110% of the participants’ Froude number during thirty-second intervals for a total of fifteen minutes. Gait was classified as walking or running for each interval. Gait transition was quantified as the lowest speed at which a transition from walking to running was observed. RESULTS: Paired t-tests found no significant differences between feedback conditions for absolute speed of gait transition (4.36 + 0.31 mi/h vs. 4.49 + 0.26 mi/h, t = 1.574, p = 0.144) or percentage of Froude number at which gait transition occurred (64.67 + 4.21% vs. 66.51 + 3.95%, t = 1.558, p = 0.148). In addition, we found no differences in preferred walking speed (2.50 + 0.39 mi/h vs. 2.53 + 0.54 mi/h, t = 0.225, p = 0.827). CONCLUSION: Contrary to our hypothesis, there were no significant differences in gait transition speed as a result of the presence or absence of knowledge of performance, in this case treadmill speed. This was true for absolute speed, speed normalized to the participant’s leg length and preferred walking speed. Interestingly, in roughly a third of participants, gait transition did not appear to be a discrete event but occurred within a range of speeds. This could have been as a result of the randomized speed protocol and warrants further study.

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