Treading on the unknown - the feasibility of a novel approach to investigating the motor control of walking Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Background and Objective : Walking is a complex human behavior, usually performed in a dynamic environment. Gait parameters are thought to reflect this complexity. Re-Step ™ is a therapy system in the form of a computerized shoe, originally developed for the training and rehabilitation of individuals with brain damage. This system may be used as model for studying the complexity that underlies gait. As the first step, we present here the feasibility of the model, after establishing the validity and reliability of stride time and stride-time variability, observed in healthy adults. Approach : Fifteen healthy adults participated in this study. To establish concurrent validity, we had five participants walk with the Re-Step on a treadmill equipped with a force plate. To establish inter-rater reliability, we used data from ten participants who walked approximately 300 m with the system. Finally, the stride-time variability of perturbed and unperturbed walks was compared to establish the feasibility of the model. Results : The correlation between the stride times observed with the treadmill and those observed with the Re-Step system was r   =  0.971. The interclass correlation coefficient between left and right legs was 1.000 for stride time and 0.827 for its variability. A significant increase (mean difference 0.68%) in stride time variability was observed between unperturbed and perturbed walks. Significance : The results of this study suggest that stride-time measurements and variability observed in the Re-Step system are valid and reliable and that the model increases the challenge to the control system, thereby making Re-Step useful in the investigation of gait.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018