Gait analysis during treadmill and overground locomotion in children and adults

Department of Physiology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany.
Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 01/1998; 105(6):490-7. DOI: 10.1016/S0924-980X(97)00055-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Gait analysis on the treadmill and in the overground condition is used both in scientific approaches for investigating the neuronal organisation and ontogenetic development of locomotion and in a variety of clinical applications. We investigated the differences between overground and treadmill locomotion (at identical gait velocity) in 12 adults and 14 children (6-7 years old). During treadmill locomotion the step frequency increased by 7% in adults and 10% in children compared to overground walking, whereas the stride length and the stance phase of the walking cycle decreased. The swing phase, however, increased significantly by 5% in adults and remained unchanged in children. Balance-related gait parameters such as the step width and foot rotation angles increased during treadmill locomotion. The reduction of the step length was found to be stable after 10 min of treadmill walking in most subjects. With regard to the shifted phases of the walking cycle and the changed balance related gait parameters in the treadmill condition, we assume a different modulation of the central pattern generator in treadmill walking, due to a changed afferent input. Regarding the pronounced differences between overground and treadmill walking in children, it is discussed whether the systems generating and integrating different modulations of locomotion into a stable movement pattern have reached full capacity in 6-7 year old children.

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