Test-Retest Reliability of Spatial-Temporal Characteristics in Novice Walkers

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Introduction: Infant walkers have immature gait patterns. Small perturbations to gait, such as a dry diaper, could impact their already unstable spatial-temporal gait characteristics. However, little is known regarding the test-retest reliability of spatial temporal measurements as measured by the GAITRite of novice walkers in dry diapers.

Purpose: To determine the reliability of spatial-temporal gait characteristics, such as Velocity, Cadence, Stride length, and Base of Support in 13-16 month old novice walkers wearing a dry diaper.

Methods: The project was approved by local IRB board and participated with written consent from legal guardians. 18 novice walkers, 9 males and 9 females, (14.4±1.0 months of age) participated in a series of 5 walking trials at a self-selected pace in a dry diaper on the GAITRite System (sampling rate 120Hz) on two separate testing sessions one week apart (Day 1 and 2). During each session, participants were fitted with the dry diaper and encouraged to walk 5 or more steps continuously for each trial, five trials total, over the GAITRite. Upon completion of each testing session, the raw data was exported and averaged across five trial for each day. Average gait velocity (cm/s), cadence (step/s), stride length (cm) and base of support (cm) were calculated at each time point. Intraclass Correlations were employed to assess between-day reliability.

Results: Gait Velocity, 92.3 ± 25.0 and 93.6 ± 20.0, for Day 1 and 2 respectively, ICC = 0.848 (95% CI = 0.594 to 0.943); Cadence, 208.6 ± 34.7 and 209.9 ± 25.8, for Day 1 and 2 respectively, ICC = 0.836 (95% CI =0.561 to 0.939); Stride Length = 53.0 ± 9.0, and 53.5 ± 7.8, for Day 1 and 2 respectively, ICC = 0.916 (95% CI = 0.777 to 0.969), Base of support, 10.9 ± 2.6, 10.9 ± 1.6, for Day 1 and 2 respectively, ICC = 0.767 (95% CI = 0.376 to 0.913).

Conclusion: The results of the study demonstrated excellent test-retest reliability for Gait Velocity, Cadence, and Stride Length and good test-retest reliability for Base of support when testing 13-16 month old novice walkers in a dry commercially available diaper on the GAITRite. Future research needs to address the test-retest reliability of infants wearing a wet diaper since wet diapers introduce great perturbation to walking.


American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference (ACSM)


Denver, CO