Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


  1. Wert, David M. PT, PhD
  2. VanSwearingen, Jessie PT, PhD
  3. Perera, Subashan PhD
  4. Studenski, Stephanie MD, MPH
  5. Brach, Jennifer S. PT, PhD


Background and Purpose: Increased carriage loads have been found to alter gait biomechanics in young healthy adults and military personnel; however, less is known regarding the influence of added carriage load on the gait characteristics of older adults-especially those with mobility limitations. The purpose of this study was to examine spatial and temporal gait characteristics during instrumented and noninstrumented overground walking in a sample of older adults with slow gait.


Methods: Forty older adults with slow gait completed 2 bouts of walking (instrumented and noninstrumented) over a computerized walkway during 1 clinic visit. Mean spatial-temporal characteristics, gait variability, and gait speed over 8 passes were recorded. Paired t tests and intraclass correlation coefficients were used to quantify differences.


Results and Discussion: Nine of the 10 gait variables did not differ statistically between instrumented and noninstrumented gait (P < .05). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for mean gait characteristics were excellent (range ICC = 0.94-0.98; 95% confidence interval = 0.89-0.99), and for gait variability ranged from fair to excellent (range ICC = 0.56-0.79; 95% confidence interval = 0.28-0.89). Our study was able to demonstrate no significant impact of instrumentation on gait characteristics in a sample of older adults with slow gait.


Conclusion: Our findings begin to fill in the gaps in the literature regarding the impact of added carriage loads on more vulnerable populations and lend support for the use of similar weighted metabolic devices as a component of gait assessment in older adults with confidence that the additional carriage-load will not significantly impact concurrent measures of gait.