Dual task effects for asymmetric stepping on a split-belt treadmill.


Bilaterally asymmetric stepping during walking is common to a number of pathological gaits (e.g., hemiplegia, limping). In the present work, the attention level of asymmetric stepping was studied by having subjects walk on a split-belt treadmill with symmetric (2 km/h) and asymmetric (2 km/h vs 4 km/h and 2 km/h vs 6 km/h) belt speeds both with and without a dual auditory Stroop task. There was no significant change in response reaction times across walking conditions or between walking and standing. The proportion of stance phase was unchanged by the dual task during symmetric walking. Stance phase proportions, however, significantly increased during dual tasking for the limb on the faster belt for both asymmetric conditions, while they decreased for the limb on the slower belt for the most asymmetric condition. There were also small modifications to double support proportions and a main effect of dual tasking to double support proportion variability. Observed dual task changes showed interference by the cognitive task with asymmetric gait performance, suggesting that asymmetric stepping, such as seen in limping gaits, requires more attention than symmetric walking. Such attention may, in part, be due to the dynamic balance required in asymmetric limb loading and unloading.

DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.06.004

Cite this paper

@article{McFadyen2009DualTE, title={Dual task effects for asymmetric stepping on a split-belt treadmill.}, author={Bradford J. McFadyen and J H Han Hegeman and Jacques Duysens}, journal={Gait & posture}, year={2009}, volume={30 3}, pages={340-4} }