Effect of arm swing strategy on local dynamic stability of human gait

M. Punt, S.M. Bruijn, H. Wittink, J.H. van Dieen

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Introduction: Falling causes long term disability and can even lead to death. Most falls occur during gait. Therefore improving gait stability might be beneficial for people at risk of falling. Recently arm swing has been shown to influence gait stability. However at present it remains unknown which mode of arm swing creates the most stable gait. Aim: To examine how different modes of arm swing affect gait stability. Method: Ten healthy young male subjects volunteered for this study. All subjects walked with four different arm swing instructions at seven different gait speeds. The Xsens motion capture suit was used to capture gait kinematics. Basic gait parameters, variability and stability measures were calculated. Results: We found an increased stability in the medio-lateral direction with excessive arm swing in comparison to normal arm swing at all gait speeds. Moreover, excessive arm swing increased stability in the anterior-posterior and vertical direction at low gait speeds. Ipsilateral and inphase arm swing did not differ compared to a normal arm swing. Discussion: Excessive arm swing is a promising gait manipulation to improve local dynamic stability. For excessive arm swing in the ML direction there appears to be converging evidence. The effect of excessive arm swing on more clinically relevant groups like the more fall prone elderly or stroke survivors is worth further investigating. Conclusion: Excessive arm swing significantly increases local dynamic stability of human gait.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-509
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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