Gait characteristics of elderly people with a history of falls: a dynamic approach.

This study investigated changes in the kinematics of elderly people who experienced at least one fall 6 months prior to data collection. The authors hypothesized that, in order to decrease variability of walking, people with a history of falls would show different kinematic adaptations of their walking patterns compared with elderly people with no history of falls.

Fifty-seven percent of the fallers were unable to walk at the fastest speed, whereas all nonfallers walked comfortably at all walking speeds. Although the fallers showed significantly greater STF, smaller stride lengths, smaller center-of-mass lateral sway, and smaller ankle plantar flexion and hip extension during push-off, they showed increased variability of kinematic measures in their coordination of walking compared with the nonfallers.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17079750