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Lawrence D.,Sheffield Hallam University | Domone S.,Sheffield Hallam University | Heller B.,Sheffield Hallam University | Hendra T.,Sheffield Hallam University | And 4 more authors.
Gait and Posture | Year: 2015

Falls that occur as a result of a slip are one of the leading causes of injuries, particularly in the elderly population. Previous studies have focused on slips that occur on a flat surface. Slips on a laterally sloping surface are important and may be related to different mechanisms of balance recovery. This type of slip might result in different gait adaptations to those previously described on a flat surface, but these adaptations have not been investigated. The aim of this study was to assess whether, when walking on a cross-slope, young adults adapted their gait when made aware of a potential slip, and having experienced a slip. Gait parameters were compared for three conditions-(1) Normal walking; (2) Walking after being made aware of a potential slip (participants were told that a slip may occur); (3) Walking after experiencing a slip (Participants had already experienced at least one slip induced using a soapy contaminant). Gait parameters were only analysed for trials in which there was no slippery contaminant present on the walkway. Stride length and walking velocity were significantly reduced, and stance duration was significantly greater in the awareness and experience conditions compared to normal walking, with no significant differences in any gait parameters between the awareness and experience conditions. In addition, 46.7% of the slip trials resulted in a fall. This is higher than reported for slips induced on a flat surface, suggesting slips on a cross-slope are more hazardous. This would help explain the more cautious gait patterns observed in both the awareness and experience conditions. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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