Gait parameters as predictors of slip severity in younger and older adults.
Moyer-BE; Chambers-AJ; Redfern-MS; Cham-R
Ergonomics 2006 Mar; 49(4):329-343
This study investigated the association between slip severity and pre-slip gait characteristics of younger and older subjects. Sixteen younger and eleven older healthy adults walked onto an unexpectedly slippery surface. Slip severity was categorized as either hazardous or non-hazardous using a 1.0 ms peak slip velocity threshold. The results showed that hazardous slips were associated with greater step lengths (normalized by leg length) (SLR), larger and more rapidly changing foot - floor angles (FFA) at heel strike, and increased cadence across the two subject groups. Older subjects were found to walk with shorter SLR and with smaller and more slowly changing FFA at heel strike compared to younger subjects. However, both younger and older subjects experienced hazardous slips at the same rate. A logistic regression model relating SLR and cadence to slip severity predicted that increased SLR and decreased cadence would result in increased probability of hazardous slip (R2 = 0.45, chi2 = 15.30, p<0.01). A second logistic regression model relating FFA with slip severity predicted that increased FFA would result in increased probability of hazardous slip (R2 = 0.53, chi2 = 16.55, p<0.01). These results suggest that gait characteristics prior to foot contact play an important role in the severity of an ensuing slip. The finding that older adults experienced hazardous slips at the same rate as young adults even though their SLR and FFA are smaller suggests that age is also playing a role in other aspects of postural control that impact slip severity.
Surface-properties; Models; Hazards; Posture; Biomechanics; Age-factors; Injuries; Accidents; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Floors
Human Movement and Balance Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering, 749 Benedum Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania