Vetrivel Chezian Sengodan, Hisham Abubeker, Anjana Muralidharan Pillai
Department of Orthopaedics, Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Government Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital, Coimbatore; Department of Orthopaedics, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Background: The aim of this study was to compare the gait patterns among Indian elderly participants with younger adults and to assess if altered gait patterns can predispose to trivial falls among the elderly. Materials and Methods: Three hundred and twenty healthy volunteers were recruited for this study, out of which 160 individuals were young (aged 15–30 years) and 160 individuals were elderly (aged 50–65 years) participants. The following three important gait characteristics, i.e. the stride length, foot clearance, and stride velocity were assessed at our 3D motion analysis laboratory. Results: The elderly participants had a significantly reduced stride length/velocity and foot clearance when compared to the young. Stride velocity although reduced among the elderly participants was however within the normal lower range. Conclusion: Significant reduction in foot clearance is likely to contribute to the higher incidence of falls among the elderly participants. A routine practice to assess these gait parameters in outpatient clinics can be helpful in early detection of the risk of fall among the elderly participants.
Keywords: Elderly, falls, gait, motion analysis, physiology.