Mining Publication: Characteristics of Gait in Restricted Vertical Space Versus Unrestricted Walking
Upright walking is not a viable gait option in work environments that have restricted vertical space, such as underground low-seam coal mines (< 1.2 m vertical height). In such circumstances, stoopwalking and crawling must be used. The objective of the current manuscript is to assess the difference between free cadence walking versus stoopwalking (under a 1.2 m ceiling), four-point crawling (hands and knees), and two-point crawling (knees only), both with and without kneepads. Compared to upright walking, stoopwalking resulted in a 24% reduction in gait velocity and exhibited reduced stride length (1.04 versus 1.51 meters). Four-point crawling further slowed gait (to 0.50 m/s) and showed evidence of both trot-like and pace-like interlimb coordination patterns. Gait speed for two-point crawling was only 0.32 m/s.