Temporal-spatial, kinematic variability, and dynamic stability measures collected during perturbation-based assessment paradigms are often used to identify dysfunction associated with gait instability. However, it remains unclear which measures are most reliable for detecting and tracking responses to perturbations. This study systematically determined the between-session reliability and minimum detectable change values of temporal-spatial, kinematic variability, and dynamic stability measures during three types of perturbed gait. Twenty young healthy adults completed two identical testing sessions two weeks apart, comprised of an unperturbed and three perturbed (cognitive, physical, and visual) walking conditions in a virtual reality environment. Within each session, perturbation responses were compared to unperturbed walking using paired t-tests. Between-session reliability and minimum detectable change values were also calculated for each measure and condition. All temporal-spatial, kinematic variability and dynamic stability measures demonstrated fair to excellent between-session reliability. Minimal detectable change values, normalized to mean values ranged from 1-50%. Step width mean and variability measures demonstrated the greatest response to perturbations with excellent between-session reliability and low minimum detectable change values. Orbital stability measures demonstrated specificity to perturbation direction and sensitivity with excellent between-session reliability and low minimum detectable change values. We observed substantially greater between-session reliability and lower minimum detectable change values for local stability measures than previously described which may be the result of averaging across trials within a session and using velocity versus acceleration data for reconstruction of state spaces. Across all perturbation types, temporal-spatial, orbital and local measures were the most reliable measures with the lowest minimum detectable change values, supporting their use for tracking changes over multiple testing sessions. The between-session reliability and minimum detectable change values reported here provide an objective means for interpreting changes in temporal-spatial, kinematic variability, and dynamic stability measures during perturbed walking which may assist in identifying instability.
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