A comparison of the range of walking speeds between normal and hemiplegic subjects
Turnbull GI, Charteris J, Wall JC.
Department of Human Movement Studies, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
It is known that people who have suffered stroke walk slower than normal. However, their ability to deviate from a preferred speed of walking has not been reported. This study investigated the range of walking speeds of 20 hemiplegic subjects and compared the results with those of 20 normal age- and gender-matched controls. All subjects traversed a computerized grid walkway which measured selected temporal and spatial gait parameters. Subjects walked at five self-selected speeds: "normal"; "slower than normal"; "slowest"; "faster than normal"; and "fastest". Comparisons were made between velocity, range of velocity, stride time and stride length. The hemiplegic group walked significantly slower at all speeds, were less capable of adapting the speed of their gait, possessed a markedly reduced range of walking speed, and walked more cautiously than the controls. These deficiencies are likely to limit the stroke person's ability to respond to environmental demands.
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