Background: Walking in water (WW) is frequently used as an aquatic exercise in rehabilitation programs for the elderly. Understanding gait characteristics of WW is of primary importance to effectively design specific water-based rehabilitation programs. Moreover, as walking speed in water is reduced with a possible effect on gait parameters, the age- and environment-related changes during WW have to be investigated considering the effects of instantaneous walking speed. Research question: how do gait kinematic characteristics differ in healthy elderly between WW and on land walking condition (LW)? Do elderly show different walking patterns compared to young adults? Can these kinematic changes be accounted only by the different environment/age or are they also related to walking speed? Methods: Nine healthy elderly participants (73.5 ± 5.8 years) were acquired during walking in WW and LW at two different speeds. Kinematic parameters were assessed with waterproofed inertial magnetic sensors using a validated protocol. The influence of environment, age and walking speed on gait parameters was investigated with linear mixed models. Results: Shorter stride distances and longer stride durations were observed in WW compared to LW. In the sagittal plane, hip and knee joint showed larger flexion in WW (>10deg over the whole stride and ∼28deg at foot strike, respectively). Furthermore, lower walking speeds and stride distances were observed in elderly compared to young adults. In the sagittal plane, a slightly more flexed hip joint and a less plantarflexed ankle joint (∼9 deg) were observed in the elderly. Significance: The results showed the importance of assessing the walking speed during WW, as gait parameters can vary not only for the effect environment but also due to different walking speeds.

Effect of walking speed during gait in water of healthy elderly

Fantozzi S.
;
Cortesi M.;Giovanardi A.;Borra D.;Di Michele R.;Gatta G.
2020

Abstract

Background: Walking in water (WW) is frequently used as an aquatic exercise in rehabilitation programs for the elderly. Understanding gait characteristics of WW is of primary importance to effectively design specific water-based rehabilitation programs. Moreover, as walking speed in water is reduced with a possible effect on gait parameters, the age- and environment-related changes during WW have to be investigated considering the effects of instantaneous walking speed. Research question: how do gait kinematic characteristics differ in healthy elderly between WW and on land walking condition (LW)? Do elderly show different walking patterns compared to young adults? Can these kinematic changes be accounted only by the different environment/age or are they also related to walking speed? Methods: Nine healthy elderly participants (73.5 ± 5.8 years) were acquired during walking in WW and LW at two different speeds. Kinematic parameters were assessed with waterproofed inertial magnetic sensors using a validated protocol. The influence of environment, age and walking speed on gait parameters was investigated with linear mixed models. Results: Shorter stride distances and longer stride durations were observed in WW compared to LW. In the sagittal plane, hip and knee joint showed larger flexion in WW (>10deg over the whole stride and ∼28deg at foot strike, respectively). Furthermore, lower walking speeds and stride distances were observed in elderly compared to young adults. In the sagittal plane, a slightly more flexed hip joint and a less plantarflexed ankle joint (∼9 deg) were observed in the elderly. Significance: The results showed the importance of assessing the walking speed during WW, as gait parameters can vary not only for the effect environment but also due to different walking speeds.
Fantozzi S.; Cortesi M.; Giovanardi A.; Borra D.; Di Michele R.; Gatta G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/771015
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