ISSN: 1899-1955
Human Movement
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4/2019
vol. 20
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Walking biomechanics and energetics of individuals with a visual impairment: a preliminary report

Hunter J. Bennett
,
Kevin A. Valenzuela
,
Kristina Fleenor
,
Steven Morrison
,
Justin A. Haegele

Human Movement 2019 vol. 20 (4), 8-18
Online publish date: 2019/07/17
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Purpose
Although walking gait in sighted populations is well researched, few studies have investigated persons with visual impairments (VIs). Given the lack of physical activity in people with VIs, it is possible that reduced efficiency in walking could adversely affect activity. The purposes of this preliminary study were to (1) examine the biomechanics and energetics utilized during independent and guided walking in subjects with VIs, and (2) compare gait biomechanics between people with VIs and sighted controls.

Methods
Three-dimensional motion capture and force platforms were used during independent and guided walking at self-selected speeds. Joint angles, moments, external work, and recovery were compared.

Results
The VI group performed independent walking slower and with reduced stride lengths compared with guided walking and sighted controls. Hip range of motion and peak joint moments were reduced during independent walking in the VI group compared with guided walking and controls. Work was greater by 114%, 32%, and 16% in the VI group during independent than during guided walking. Recovery was 11% greater in guided vs. independent walking.

Conclusions
In the presented preliminary study among 3 persons with congenital VIs, independent walking was a less efficient mode of walking compared with guided walking and that of sighted controls.

keywords:

visual impairment, gait, energetics, walking, lower extremity biomechanics

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