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An evaluation of symmetries in ground reaction forces during self-paced single- and dual-task treadmill walking in the able-bodied men

Al-Juaid, Rawan and Al-Amri, Mohammad ORCID: 2020. An evaluation of symmetries in ground reaction forces during self-paced single- and dual-task treadmill walking in the able-bodied men. Symmetry 12 (12) , 2101. 10.3390/sym12122101

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Gait is a complex autonomous activity that has long been viewed as a symmetrical locomotion, even when it adapts to secondary concurrent attention-demanding tasks. This study aimed to evaluate the symmetry of the three ground reaction forces (GRFs) in able-bodied individuals during self-paced treadmill walking with and without concurrent cognitive demands. Twenty-five male participants (age: 34.00 ± 4.44 years) completed two gait assessment sessions, each of whom were familiarized with the walking trials during their first session. Both sessions involved six-minute self-paced treadmill walking under three conditions: single-task walking and walking while concurrently responding to auditory 1-back and 2-back memory tasks. The symmetry of the GRFs was estimated using a nonlinear approach. Changes in the symmetry and walking speed across conditions in both sessions were assessed using inferential statistics. Results demonstrated that the three GRFs deviated from perfect symmetry by ≥10%. Engaging working memory during walking significantly reduced the symmetry of the vertical GRF (p = 0.003), and its detrimental effects on walking speed were significantly reduced in the second session with respect to the first session (p < 0.05). The findings indicate imperfect gait symmetry in able-bodied individuals, suggesting that common perceptions of gait symmetry should be reconsidered to reflect its objective importance in clinical settings.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Arthritis Biomechanics Bioengineering Centre (ARUKBBC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: gait symmetry; ground reaction forces; dual-task walking; healthy individuals; treadmill-based gait analysis; gait
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2073-8994
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: 16 December 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 19:05

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