Effects of Floor Material Change on Gait Stability
|關鍵字:||跌倒;步態穩定性;地板材質;材質轉換;摩擦係數;Fall;Gait Stability;Floor Materials;Floor Transition;Coefficient of Friction|
Fall related injuries are serious public health issues all over the world, including in many developed countries, and most fall incidents occur at home. However, floor transition is a common yet frequently neglected condition when consider risk factors of falls. In consideration of high incident rates of fall-at-home events, our study aims to examine the effect of floor material change (transition), e.g. from living room to kitchen, on the control of level walking and gait stability, in order to reduce the floor material-induced risks of falls and improve the safety of home environment. We used three commonly-used floor materials at home in Taiwan – plane-wood, rough-ceramic, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to construct seven different floor conditions for the experiment. An eight-camera motion capture system and two force platforms were used to obtain kinematics and kinetics during level walking. Five healthy young adults and two older subjects volunteered for this study. All subjects completed 20 walking trials, on a 6-m long walkway at self-selected comfortable speed, each under two consistent condition (i.e. same floor material) – plane-wood and rough-wood floor, and four transition condition (i.e. from one material to another) – plane-wood to PVC, PVC to plane-wood, rough-wood to PVC and PVC to rough-wood floor. The five young participants also completed 20 trials on an additional dry to wet ceramic condition. Our results showed that when subjects walked from one floor to another with slightly lower coefficient of friction (COF), the peak required COF under foot increased 5% to 10%, and the foot angle at heel strike decreased about 30%. Moreover, peak anterior pelvic tilt angle was smaller as compared to those when walking under the consistent condition. The results imply a higher risk of falls during walking in transition than consistent conditions. Furthermore, the larger medial-lateral COM excursion also indicates that subjects had less stable locomotion under transition condition. Therefore, we suggest people avoid or use caution when they walk under transition condition, especially for the living environment of the elderly.
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