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Jaimie A. Roper, Ryan T. Roemmich, Mark D. Tillman, Matthew J. Terza and Chris J. Hass

The mechanics of human gait require control of movement in all 3 anatomical planes in order to safely and efficiently navigate our environment. Movements in the sagittal plane are often the primary focus of locomotor research because walking most commonly occurs with a forward orientation and many

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Lennart Raudsepp and Eva-Maria Riso

, and functional health as well ( Yorston, Kolt, & Rosenkranz, 2012 ). In addition, some studies suggest that low-intensity physical activity, which may include nonexercise, leisure-time activities (walking for pleasure), and instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., walking related to housework or

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Mika R. Moran, Perla Werner, Israel Doron, Neta HaGani, Yael Benvenisti, Abby C. King, Sandra J. Winter, Jylana L. Sheats, Randi Garber, Hadas Motro and Shlomit Ergon

Walking is a form of physical activity (PA) that most people can easily adopt and participate in given its low level of exertion and relatively low cost. These characteristics make walking especially attractive for older adults; indeed, although PA declines with age ( Baptista et al., 2012

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Erik B. Simonsen, Morten B. Svendsen, Andreas Nørreslet, Henrik K. Baldvinsson, Thomas Heilskov-Hansen, Peter K. Larsen, Tine Alkjær and Marius Henriksen

The aim of the study was to investigate the distribution of net joint moments in the lower extremities during walking on high-heeled shoes compared with barefooted walking at identical speed. Fourteen female subjects walked at 4 km/h across three force platforms while they were filmed by five digital video cameras operating at 50 frames/second. Both barefooted walking and walking on high-heeled shoes (heel height: 9 cm) were recorded. Net joint moments were calculated by 3D inverse dynamics. EMG was recorded from eight leg muscles. The knee extensor moment peak in the first half of the stance phase was doubled when walking on high heels. The knee joint angle showed that high-heeled walking caused the subjects to flex the knee joint significantly more in the first half of the stance phase. In the frontal plane a significant increase was observed in the knee joint abductor moment and the hip joint abductor moment. Several EMG parameters increased significantly when walking on high-heels. The results indicate a large increase in bone-on-bone forces in the knee joint directly caused by the increased knee joint extensor moment during high-heeled walking, which may explain the observed higher incidence of osteoarthritis in the knee joint in women as compared with men.

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N.A. Gallaghe, P.J. Clarke, C. Loveland-Cherry, D.L. Ronis and K.A. Gretebeck

This cross-sectional study examined the association of self-efficacy with neighborhood walking in older adult (mean age = 76.1, SD = 8.34) fallers (n = 108) and nonfallers (n = 217) while controlling for demographic characteristics and mobility. Hierarchical multiple regression indicated that the full model explained 39% of the variance in neighborhood walking in fallers (P < .001) and 24% in nonfallers (P < .001). Self-efficacy explained 23% of the variance in fallers (P < .001) and 11% in nonfallers (P < .001). Neighborhood walking was significantly associated with self-efficacy for individual barriers in both groups. Self-efficacy for neighborhood barriers trended toward significance in fallers (β = .18, P = .06). Fall history did not moderate the relationship between self-efficacy and neighborhood walking. Walking interventions for older adults should address self-efficacy in overcoming individual walking barriers. Those targeting fallers should consider addressing self-efficacy for overcoming neighborhood barriers.

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Kevin Terry, Christopher Stanley and Diane Damiano

There remains a pressing need for a stability metric that can reliably identify fall susceptibility during walking, enabling more effective gait rehabilitation for reduced fall incidence. One available metric is the maximum margin of stability (MOSmax), which is calculated using the body’s center of mass (COM) position and velocity along with the location of the maximum center of pressure (COPmax). However, MOSmax has several limitations that may limit stability assessment. Specifically, the assumptions of a fixed COP and constant ground reaction force (GRF) are not applicable to gait. To address these limitations, a modified MOS equation that allows for a variable COP and is not dependent on a constant GRF is presented here. The modified MOS was significantly lower than MOSmax throughout a significant portion of single limb support for normal walking gait. This finding indicates the MOSmax metric may lack sensitivity to instability as it may still be positive when the actual MOS indicates existing or impending instability. This comparison also showed that the MOS might offer additional information about walking stability relevant to gait assessment for fall prevention and rehabilitation. However, like other stability metrics, this capability must be established with further investigations of perturbed and pathological gait.

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Richard R. Suminski, Rick L. Petosa, Walker C.S. Poston, Emily Stevens and Laura Katzenmoyer

Background:

Methods are needed to assess the impact of walk-to-school programs on behavior. This study developed an observation method for counting the number of children and adults walking/biking to school.

Methods:

Two elementary schools located in different urban, US census tracts were chosen for this study. Six walking/biking routes to each school were observed for 30 min before and after school. Strict guidelines were followed for determining whether a child/adult was counted.

Results:

Levels of agreement between observers were over 97% for children and adults. Reliability coefficients (R) for two days of observations exceeded 0.90 for children and adults walking. No differences were seen between days of the week or before and after school observation periods (P > 0.05). The number seen walking did depend on the route observed (P < 0.01).

Conclusion:

This study presents a reliable observation method for determining the number of children and adults walking and biking to/from school.

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Marco Hagen, Ewald M. Hennig and Peter Stieldorf

Nordic walking (NW) was compared with walking (W) and running (R) with respect to upper and lower limb injury risks. 24 NW-instructors performed W, NW, and R trials on a runway covered with artificial turf at controlled speeds. Foot pronation and ground reaction forces were measured as well as shock wave transmission to the right wrist. Comparison of NW and W shows similar results for all of the four chosen velocities (5 km/h, 7 km/h, 8 km/h, 8.5 km/h). Except for the 2nd peak of the vertical ground reaction force, NW results in higher loading rates and horizontal forces as well as higher pronation and pronation velocity values as compared with W. Wrist acceleration values up to 7.6 times gravitational acceleration were recorded in NW. Compared with R at the same speeds (8 km/h and 8.5 km/h), NW can be recommended as low impact sport with 36% lower loading rates and 59% lower pronation velocities. However, the high wrist accelerations in NW reveal that the upper extremities are exposed to considerable repetitive shocks, which may cause overuse injuries of the upper extremities. Thus, additional preventive exercises for the upper limb muscles are recommended as well as using shock absorbing walking poles.

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Henrik Koblauch, Thomas Heilskov-Hansen, Tine Alkjær, Erik B. Simonsen and Marius Henriksen

It is unclear how rotations of the lower limb affect the knee joint compression forces during walking. Increases in the frontal plane knee moment have been reported when walking with internally rotated feet and a decrease when walking with externally rotated feet. The aim of this study was to investigate the knee joint compressive forces during walking with internal, external and normal foot rotation and to determine if the frontal plane knee joint moment is an adequate surrogate for the compression forces in the medial and lateral knee joint compartments under such gait modifications. Ten healthy males walked at a fixed speed of 4.5 km/h under three conditions: Normal walking, internally rotated and externally rotated. All gait trials were recorded by six infrared cameras. Net joint moments were calculated by 3D inverse dynamics. The results revealed that the medial knee joint compartment compression force increased during external foot rotation and the lateral knee joint compartment compression force increased during internal foot rotation. The increases in joint loads may be a result of increased knee flexion angles. Further, these data suggest that the frontal plane knee joint moment is not a valid surrogate measure for knee joint compression forces but rather indicates the medial-to-lateral load distribution.

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Yvonne Michael, Tracey Beard, Dongseok Choi, Stephanie Farquhar and Nichole Carlson

There is a need for greater understanding of how perceptions and objective measures of the physical environment influence physical activity among seniors. The goal of this study was to examine the degree of association between perceived and objective characteristics of the neighborhood environment and the relation of each type of measurement to neighborhood walking in older adults. Data on self-reported frequency of walking in the neighborhood and perceived measures of neighborhood environment from 105 older adults were linked to objective measures assessed by geographic information systems and an audit instrument. Perceived and objective measurements of the built environment exhibited a low degree of agreement (kappas: <.20). After adjustment for education, age, and gender, presence of a mall was positively associated with neighborhood walking in both the objective and perceived models.