Gait Varibility

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The role of gait variability in the elderly

Introduction

Fall-related injuries have been one of the main causes of accidental death in older adults. Moreover, it has been shown that over 33% of adults over the age of 65 will fall every year [1]. For people between 75 and 84 years old it is the second leading cause of injury death, and for people over 85 it is the leading cause [2].
The high number of falls not only has great effect in the elderly health, but it shows a very high cost in the caring system. It has been estimated that cost of caring for falling in the elderly community has a cost of about US$ 31 billions in the year 2000 in the US alone [9].
A variety of studies have been developed seeking the principal components that could
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cadence, gait autonomy, stop duration, existence of tremors, among others [16]. In this section, the ones that will be used through this review will be described.
Step length is defined as the distance between two consecutive footprints, where stride length is the distance between two consecutive footfalls of same foot, as in figure X. Step width is determined as the distance between two heel locations in consecutive footfalls (some studies use the outer most borders of the feet instead of the heels) [3,4].
Step time is defined as the time span from initial foot-floor contact of one foot to foot-floor contact of the contralateral foot (for stride time is until foot-floor contact of the same foot). Stance time is the time the foot was kept in contact with the floor [3,4]. Double support time is the amount of time in which both feet are touching the ground
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This may not be accurate as subjects may omit or forget incidents that happened in the one-year interval regularly used in this type of study.
A variety of other possible relevant information was also included, such as demographic data, mental status, self-rated quality of life, body mass index, and functional status, among many others. Interestingly, falls efficacy scale was also obtained, which is a description of how confident one is performing different daily living activities without falling. This scale could help the authors to connect their study with the finds from [10], which showed that changes in step characteristics maybe cause by fear of falling rather than risk of falling itself.
In the 52 weeks of follow-up, 20 subjects reporter 1 or more falling. Where 11 of these 20 subjects had multiple falls. Correlating well with other studies that show that after first fall elderly adults are two to three more likely to fall again in the next year

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