Walking speed, unilateral leg loading, and step symmetry in young adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of gait speed and unilateral lower limb loading on step time and step length symmetry in healthy adults. Spatiotemporal gait data were collected from 22 healthy subjects (11 men, 11 women), using the GaitRite walkway, under four randomly sequenced test conditions: self-selected speed (SS), fast speed (F), self-selected speed with the right leg loaded (LSS), and the fastest attainable speed with the right leg loaded (LF). The symmetry index, calculated with the formula [((R- L)/0.5. ×. (R+ L)). ×. 100], was used to quantify step time and step length symmetry. It was found that over-ground gait speed had no significant effects on the symmetry of step time or step length. Unilateral lower limb loading significantly increased step time asymmetry, with longer step time for the loaded leg. Step symmetry was further compromised and became more asymmetrical when, in addition to unilateral leg loading, subjects maximized their gait speed. This effect of fast speed with unilateral leg loading was particularly prominent in relation to step length, with its shortening in the unloaded leg and lengthening in the loaded leg. These observations in healthy subjects may serve as a reference for the assessment of gait symmetry in patients with unilateral lower limb pathologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)66-69
Number of pages4
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Gait
  • Symmetry
  • Unilateral load
  • Walking

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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