Effects of narrow-base walking and dual tasking on gait spatiotemporal characteristics in anterior cruciate ligament-injured adults compared to healthy adults

M. Mazaheri, H. Negahban, M. Soltani, M. Mehravar, S. Tajali, M. Hessam, M. Salavati, I. Kingma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


The present experiment was conducted to examine the hypothesis that challenging control through narrow-base walking and/or dual tasking affects ACL-injured adults more than healthy control adults.
Twenty male ACL-injured adults and twenty healthy male adults walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed under two base-of-support conditions, normal-base versus narrow-base, with and without a cognitive task. Gait patterns were assessed using mean and variability of step length and mean and variability of step velocity. Cognitive performance was assessed using the number of correct counts in a backward counting task.
Narrow-base walking resulted in a larger decrease in step length and a more pronounced increase in variability of step length and of step velocity in ACL-injured adults than in healthy adults. For most of the gait parameters and for backward counting performance, the dual-tasking effect was similar between the two groups.
ACL-injured adults adopt a more conservative and more unstable gait pattern during narrow-base walking. This can be largely explained by deficits of postural control in ACL-injured adults, which impairs gait under more balance-demanding conditions. The observation that the dual-tasking effect did not differ between the groups may be explained by the fact that walking is an automatic process that involves minimal use of attentional resources, even after ACL injury. Clinicians should consider the need to include aspects of terrain complexity, such as walking on a narrow walkway, in gait assessment and training of patients with ACL injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2528-2535
Number of pages8
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number8
Early online date9 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017



  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Attention
  • Gait
  • Kinematics
  • balance

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