Relative Phase Coordination Analysis in the Assessment of Dynamic Gait Symmetry

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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A variety of kinematic and kinetic measures are typically used to examine gait symmetry. Here we make the argument that gait asymmetries may be most clearly revealed through higher-order coordinative measures such as continuous relative phase (CRP). Participants walked on a treadmill with a load attached to their nondominant limb. Gait symmetry was then assessed using spatial (angular), temporal (velocity), and higherorder (CRP) symmetry measures. It was found that higher-order measures were most sensitive at assessing asymmetries due to load manipulation at both the distal and proximal segments. Symmetry measures derived from velocity variables were more sensitive than angular measures at detecting asymmetries, but were less sensitive compared with CRP. Asymmetries were also more readily detected using segmental angles compared with joint angles. These results suggest that gait asymmetries that emerge from changing constraints manifest along both spatial and temporal dimensions.

Haddad is with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Motor Development Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Van Emmerik is with the Department of Kinesiology, Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratories, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Wheat is with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Biomechanics Laboratory, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, U.K. Hamill is with the Department of Kinesiology, Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratories, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Snapp-Childs is with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Motor Development Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.