Ground reaction force and 3D biomechanical characteristics of walking in short-leg walkers


Short-leg walking boots offer several advantages over traditional casts. However, their effects on ground reaction forces (GRF) and three-dimensional (3D) biomechanics are not fully understood. The purpose of the study was to examine 3D lower extremity kinematics and joint dynamics during walking in two different short-leg walking boots. Eleven (five females and six males) healthy subjects performed five level walking trials in each of three conditions: two testing boot conditions, Gait Walker (DeRoyal Industries, Inc.) and Equalizer (Royce Medical Co.), and one pair of laboratory shoes (Noveto, Adidas). A force platform and a 6-camera Vicon motion analysis system were used to collect GRFs and 3D kinematic data during the testing session. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate selected kinematic, GRF, and joint kinetic variables (p < 0.05). The results revealed that both short-leg walking boots were effective in minimizing ankle eversion and hip adduction. Neither walker increased the bimodal vertical GRF peaks typically observed in normal walking. However, they did impose a small initial peak (<1 BW) earlier in the stance phase. The Gait Walker also exhibited a slightly increased vertical GRF during midstance. These characteristics may be related to the sole materials/design, the restriction of ankle movements, and/or the elevated heel heights of the tested walkers. Both walkers appeared to increase the demand on the knee extensors while they decreased the demand of the knee and hip abductors based on the joint kinetic results. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Gait and Posture