An Evaluation of Symmetry in the Lower Limb Joints During the Able-Bodied Gait of Women and Men

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For many years, mainly to simplify data analysis, scientists assumed that during a gait, the lower limbs moved symmetrically. However, even a cursory survey of the more recent literature reveals that the human walk is symmetrical only in some aspects. That is why the presence of asymmetry should be considered in all studies of locomotion. The gait data were collected using the 3D motion analysis system Vicon. The inclusion criteria allowed the researchers to analyze a very homogenous group, which consisted of 54 subjects (27 women and 27 men). Every selected participant moved at a similar velocity: approximately 1,55 m/s. The analysis included kinematic parameters defining spatio-temporal structure of locomotion, as well as angular changes of the main joints of the lower extremities (ankle, knee and hip) in the sagittal plane. The values of those variables were calculated separately for the left and for the right leg in women and men. This approach allowed us to determine the size of the differences, and was the basis for assessing gait asymmetry using a relative asymmetry index, which was constructed by the authors. Analysis of the results demonstrates no differences in the temporal and phasic variables of movements of the right and left lower limb. However, different profiles of angular changes in the sagittal plane were observed, measured bilaterally for the ankle joint.

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