Meghan E. Hancock1, Christopher M. Wilburn1, Brandi E. Decoux2, Jordan E. Tompkins1, Hannah H. Houde1, Jared J. Kosek1, Baham Adlou1, John L. Grace1, Wendi H. Weimar1. 1Auburn University, Auburn, AL. 2Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA.

BACKGROUND: Stride length is considered a valuable measure of gait efficiency and has been utilized to evaluate the influence interventions have on walking and running parameters. An advantage in utilizing stride length surrounds the relative ease of determination and inclusion of a complete gait cycle. Yet, stride length does not consider how far away the foot strikes the ground relative to the body. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the variability of the stride length (SL) to a novel variable that considers the distance of the foot strike to the center of mass (CoML). METHODS: A modified lower extremity Plug-in Gait model and instrumented walking (ProtoKinetics LLC, Havertown, PA) analyzed gait parameters in 10 participants (height 1.79 m ± 08; mass: 81.68 kg ± 15.93). Each participant completed barefoot walking at a self-selected pace. SL was extracted from the instrumented walkway software and normalized to body height. CoML was assessed by normalizing a vector created amongst a centroid of the pelvis markers and location of foot contact. A repeated measures ANOVA was utilized to determine if the standard deviations of both measures were significantly different. RESULTS: The results indicate that there was no significant difference between the standard deviations of the SL and CoML (F(8,1) = 1.882 and p=0.207). CONCLUSIONS: While the results of this project failed to reach significance, the trend of the data seems to indicate that the CoML is less variable than the SL and may prove a more robust measure of gait health. In particular, the measure of foot to center of mass may well be valuable in assessing degradation in propulsive mechanics and balance.

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