What are the Effects of Dual-task & Walking Speed on Gait Variability in People with Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI)?

Research Paper Title

Effects of dual-task and walking speed on gait variability in people with chronic ankle instability: a cross-sectional study.

Background

Recent evidence suggests that impaired central sensorimotor integration may contribute to deficits in movement control experienced by people with chronic ankle instability (CAI). This study compared the effects of dual-task and walking speed on gait variability in individuals with and without CAI.

Methods

Sixteen subjects with CAI and 16 age- and gender-matched, able-bodied controls participated in this study. Stride time variability and stride length variability were measured on a treadmill under four different conditions: self-paced walking, self-paced walking with dual-task, fast walking, and fast walking with dual-task.

Results

Under self-paced walking (without dual-task) there was no difference in stride time variability between CAI and control groups (P = 0.346). In the control group, compared to self-paced walking, stride time variability decreased in all conditions: self-paced walking with dual-task, fast speed, and fast speed with dual-task (P = 0.011, P = 0.016, P = 0.001, respectively). However, in the CAI group, compared to self-paced walking, decreased stride time variability was demonstrated only in the fast speed with dual-task condition (P = 1.000, P = 0.471, P = 0.008; respectively). Stride length variability did not change under any condition in either group.

Conclusions

Subjects with CAI and healthy controls reduced their stride time variability in response to challenging walking conditions; however, the pattern of change was different. A higher level of gait disturbance was required to cause a change in walking in the CAI group compared to healthy individuals, which may indicate lower adaptability of the sensorimotor system. Clinicians may use this information and employ activities to enhance sensorimotor control during gait, when designing intervention programs for people with CAI.

Reference

Springer, S. & Gottlieb, U. (2017) Effects of dual-task and walking speed on gait variability in people with chronic ankle instability: a cross-sectional study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 18: 316.
Published online 2017 Jul 21. doi: 10.1186/s12891-017-1675-1.

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