Step-by-step variability of swing phase trajectory area during steady state walking at a range of speeds

Academic Article


  • Background Step kinematic variability has been characterized during gait using spatial and temporal kinematic characteristics. However, people can adopt different trajectory paths both between individuals and even within individuals at different speeds. Single point measures such as minimum toe clearance (MTC) and step length (SL) do not necessarily account for the multiple paths that the foot may take during the swing phase to reach the same foot fall endpoint. The purpose of this study was to test a step-by-step foot trajectory area (SBSFTA) variability measure that is able to characterize sagittal plane foot trajectories of varying areas, and compare this measure against MTC and SL variability at different speeds. We hypothesize that the SBS-FTA variability would demonstrate increased variability with speed. Second, we hypothesize that SBS-FTA would have a stronger curvilinear fit compared with the CV and SD of SL and MTC. Third, we hypothesize SBS-FTA would be more responsive to change in the foot trajectory at a given speed compared to SL and MTC. Fourth, SBS-FTA variability would not strongly co-vary with SL and MTC variability measures since it represents a different construct related to foot trajectory area variability. Methods We studied 15 nonimpaired individuals during walking at progressively faster speeds. We calculated SL, MTC, and SBS-FTA area. Results SBS-FTA variability increased with speed, had a stronger curvilinear fit compared with the CV and SD of SL and MTC, was more responsive at a given speed, and did not strongly covary with SL and MTC variability measures. Conclusion SBS foot trajectory area variability was sensitive to change with faster speeds, captured a relationship that the majority of the other measures did not demonstrate, and did not co-vary strongly with other measures that are also components of the trajectory.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rumble DD; Hurt CP; Brown DA
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 1