When confronted with impending slip/fall situations, gait parameters are adjusted accordingly to avoid slipping. This study was conducted to assess age-related slip avoidance strategy by measuring gait parameters and muscle activity characteristics of the lower extremities (hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps) of both young and older participants while ambulating successfully over a known slippery floor surface. Fourteen younger and 14 older adults participated in this study. First, a baseline measure was collected to study normal gait prior to any exposure to slipping. A second measure was collected following a slip from a contaminated floor surface, but before the initiation of a second slip, where the participants were able to view the contaminated surface before traversing it. The results indicated that there were significant gait parameter differences between normal-dry walking conditions and contaminated-slippery walking conditions. In general, participants (young and old) reduced step length, friction utilization, and heel contact velocity from normal gait to adjusted gait conditions. Furthermore, results also indicated that there were differences in gait parameters and muscle activity characteristics between the two age groups for both a normal gait condition and a gait condition requiring adjustment. Findings suggested that older individuals required an additional step to properly adjust gait for a contaminated walking surface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine