Effects of arm position on parameters of normal gait in older persons

Document Type


Publication Date



It has been reported that older persons tend to have a slower arm swing and decreased arm swing amplitude is observed in older persons with a history of falls. Arm swing, particularly slow arm swing, tends to obscure markers of the hip and create problems in the analysis of 2-D gait video. One solution is to move the camera-side arm out of the visual field thus creating an unobstructed view. However, this movement could create abnormal locomotive patterns lending to inaccurate results. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of two arm placements: free arm swing (FAS) and right arm crossed over the abdomen (RAC), on sagittal plane kinematics during free-speed gait. Seventy-five apparently healthy subjects over 65 years volunteered. A Motion Analysis Corporation 2-D video system was used to analyze parameters of normal gait for two FAS and RAC trials. Intraclass R values indicated good reliability within conditions. Paired t-tests (p<0.05) revealed kinematic differences for hip maximum flexion range of motion (ROM), ankle dorsi- and plantar flexion ROM, and walking velocity. Changing the arm dynamics appears to result in significant changes in lower limb kinematics. Therefore, lower limb motion data from individuals greater than 65 years, whose upper limb kinematics have been altered, should be interpreted with caution.

Publication Name

Clinical Kinesiology

Volume Number


First Page


Last Page


Issue Number


This document is currently not available here.