Child temporal-spatial gait characteristics and variability during uphill and downhill walking

Keith A. Stern, Jinger S. Gottschall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Gait maturation, evidenced in, for example, the ability to walk over nonlevel surfaces, is an important indicator of typical development in children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the walking strategies used by children and adults during hill walking. METHODS: Temporal-spatial gait parameters and trial-to-trial coefficient of variation of these parameters were compared between 30 children (aged 3.5-5.5 years) and 30 adults during level and 15° hill walking. RESULTS: Compared with the adult group, the child group coefficient of variation was greater during all conditions. Furthermore, unique to the child group, there was a significant increase in variability during downhill walking. CONCLUSION: It is evident from the current results that children aged 3.5 to 5.5 years do not yet exhibit a mature gait and that downhill walking may increase fall risk. Attention should be given to gait variability and nonlevel walking when investigating or training children's gait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 6 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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