Temporal Step Coordination while Walking with a Single-Point Cane

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CONFERENCE: Student Research and Creative Activity Fair

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Barajas, Monica
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TEMPORAL STEP COORDINATION WHILE WALKING WITH A SINGLE-POINT CANEMonica Barajas, Russel Buffum, Samantha Sack, Tyler Hamer, Brian A. KnarrUniversity of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NEStroke is the primary cause of long-term adult disability in the United States. Some physical limitations that a stroke survivor may encounter are foot drop, muscle weakness to one side of the body, limited coordination and muscle movement, among other effects that may directly affect gait. To address weakness and poor coordination post-stroke, a cane is commonly used. While a cane can help with balance, coordinating steps with an additional device can prove difficult to learn and may alter natural stepping rhythm. Before considering this in a stroke population, it is important to understand how this rhythm of stepping may change in a healthy population. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the variability of step times between normal walking without a cane and walking with a cane in healthy young adults. We hypothesize that the use of a cane may negatively affect the natural stepping pattern. A total of 20 healthy adults, between the ages of 19 and 49 will be recruited. Participants will complete four 10-minute walking trials on an indoor track with and without a cane and on an outdoor paved sidewalk with and without a cane. Foot switch insoles will go inside the participant’s tennis shoes to measure heel strikes. The cane and foot switches will be synced to compare the cane’s timing relative to the limbs. Preliminary pilot data shows that a healthy persons natural stepping pattern is disrupted when using a cane. Future work will focus on continued data collection and analysis.