CGA FAQ: Number of steps in a year

from BIOMCH-L 18/7/95
My sincerest thanks to all of you who responded to my request for
info on the number of gait loading cycles/year.

my original request was
>Dear Biomch-L readers,

>We are interested in performing statistical analysis of the total number
>of loading cycles per year on the hips and knees of males and females
>during normal daily living. In this study we will include people from
>different age groups and different occupations. We will also include total
>hip and knee arthroplasty patients to measure the pre and post-operative
>activity levels.

>We would like to know if similar work has been done, or if there is another
>research group doing such a work.

>Thank you for any pointers!!

>Hassan A. Serhan PhD
>Asst. Prof. Ortho. Dept.
>SUNY at Buffalo)

Here is a summary of the information I received:

From: Ed Lemaire 

Geoff Fernie has done some limb limb counting with
amputees some time ago.  He is at the U. of Toronto and/or
Sunntbrook Hospital I think.  Sorry but I don't have any more
address info.  The Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Center in
Toronto would know how to reach him.

Ed Lemaire, MSc
The Rehabilitation Center
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
613-737-7350 x5592


From: "Ton van den Bogert" 

Dear Dr. Hassan,

Several groups are working on activity monitoring
using accelerometry, where accelerometer signals are recorded by a
miniature datalogger (for a day, or a week) and analyzed
afterwards.  One of those groups is at the University of Twente
(Netherlands).  Contact: Dr. Peter Veltink .
Those techniques are able to recognize certain types of activity,
and also allow counting of the number of cycles.

If you are interested in a more quantitative analysis of the hip
joint, my own research may be relevant for you.  I have developed
a method, also using accelerometry, to quantify the magnitude of
loading in the hip (not just the type of activity and the number
of cycles).  The instrumentation is more complex, however, so
it's probably not suitable for activity monitoring.  I used four
triaxial accelerometers on the upper body.  You might be able to
use only two, one mounted at the lower back and one mounted
higher up.  This is the absolute minimum for estimation of 3-D
linear and angular acceleration of the upper body.

I can send you a copy of a publication, preferably by E-mail

-- Ton van den Bogert
   Human Performance Laboratory
   University of Calgary


From: Carol Oatis 

I believe work was done at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Downey California
and the USC Department of Physical Therapy several years ago on steps per
month in healthy subjects and in people with hip DJD.  It may have been a
Masters thesis by Patricia McElvey, back in the seventies.  I don't know
if it was ever published .  Good luck


From: Ton van den Bogert 
To: hassan serhan 
Subject: Re: No. of gait loading cycles/year

You wrote:
>In our initial study, we used electronic pedometers to simply count the
>number of steps taken by the patients pre and pos-operatively. This data
>will be used as a measure in the evaluation of THA and TKA.

That is probably a good way to do this if walking is the main
type of activity for your patients, i.e. you don't need to
distinguish between different activities (walking, running,
jumping etc.).

>Ps. yes I'm interested in receiving a PS file of your paper, I think it

I will E-mail the file.  But, be aware that my application is
quite unique.  Most other applications of accelerometers for
activity monotoring use heuristic, rather than mathematical,
analysis to recognize and count activity cycles.

-- Ton van den Bogert


From: (Marco Viceconti)

You can find info in "Materisl design analysis of the prosthetic anterion
cruciate ligament", J Biomed Mat Res, 14, 1980, pp: 567-586.  I think
mostof the data they report is from:

Grood, E.S.; Noyes, F.R. ==> J bone J surg 58A:8 1976 pp1083 1088.

Hope this will help you


Laboratorio di Tecnologia dei Materiali     tel.39-51-6366865
Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli                 fax.39-51-6366863
via di barbiano 1/10, 40136 - Bologna, Italy


From: Kim Dwyer 

Dear Hassan,  I am not aware of any research you might find useful, in
fact I often wonder where exactly the figure "1million cycles/year" comes
from---this is what lots of us who perform wear testing to examine
polyethylene performance in total joint replacements use!  Please keep me
updated as your study progresses.
        One of our Resident's was interested in the amount of activity a
patient with early rheumatoid arthritis performs on a daily basis.  He
provided pedometers for each patient that were about the size of a beeper
and asked the patients to wear them every wakig hour for a month.  The
devices had their problems and the patients had their noncompliance
problems but it was useful when averaged over a large enough group.  Just
an idea...
        Another interesting issue that someone suggested is that not only
should we model the average speed at a particular joint and the
number of cycles, etc., but we are missing te boat if we do not model the
daily 'stumble, fall, etc."  Someone said to go by our wear tester and
hit it with a hammer every once in a while.  This sounds pretty funny
when you first hear it but over time it starts to make some sense
(usually after you do something clumsy yourself :-D
        Good luck....

        Kimberly A. Dwyer, M.S.         Clinical Mechanics Group
        Dwyer@ME.QueensU.Ca             Mechanical Engineering
                Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

from BIOMCH-L 14/12/99
One month ago I posted a question about gait cycles in humans and DOGS.
Unfortunately it took quite a while to get all the references from the
various libraries. I got several references for the number of human gait
cycles an could confirm the number I had in mind. But unfortunately I did
not get any numbers for canine gait cycles, the thing I was most interested

thanks to all the people that helped me

The original posting was:

Dear subscribers

I'm a veterinarian doing my PhD on a THR in dogs. I am looking for
literature and references the number of gait cycles in human and dog per
year. As far as I remember one says that a human with a THR is doing
about 1Mio of gait cycles per year and dogs about 3 to 5 Mio/year. But I
can't find the reference anymore.

I will post a summery with all the references.
Thanks for your help in advance.

The reference I have for the number of human gait cycles per year is
Wallbridge N, and Dowson D "The Walking Activity of patients with
artificial hip joints" Engineering in Medicine 1982; 11: 95-96

They give a range from 0.5 to 3 million depending on age and activity

hope this helps


Mark S Thompson
PhD Student
Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials,
Queen Mary and Westfield College,
E1 4NS
Numbers in the paper:
They looked at 9 female and two male patients (age 44 to 76) with one or
two THR. The average was 3975 gait cycles per day (2371 to 5714 per day,
this is 860000 to 2'085'600 steps per year)

I know of three papers that look at the number of cycles in HUMAN normals and

I think it is the first one that quotes a few other studies for comparison.

Hope this helps

Julie Matthews
Integrum, Sweden

1.      Schmalzried, T., et al., Quantitative assessment of walking
activity after
        total hip or knee replacement. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
(Am), 1998.
        80(1): p. 54-59.
2.      Schmalzried, T., et al., Factors correlating with long term
survival of
        McKee-Farrar total hip prostheses. Clin-Orthop, 1996. 329Suppl: p.
3.      Seedhom, B. and N. Wallbridge, Walking activities and wear of
        Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1985. 44(12): p. 838-843.

Numbers in the paper:
1.      total of 111 patients, 57 men, 54 women, age <60: 49  age>60 62.
Average number of steps per
        day: 4988 (910'310 per year)
3.      243 individuals (144 m, 99f), age 17 - 83; only littel correlation
betweesn varables as age, height
        and weight and their speed of walking and walked distance. men had
an average of 9'537 steps
        per day (1'600 - 35'500) and women 9'839 steps per day (1'200 -

I collated the responses from this query from BIOMCH-L 18/7/95:



We did a study on 42 THA patients. The reference is given, the
numbers found are shown in the attachment.
(They measured 6376 gait cyles/day and 264 stair steps/day on average)

Morlock, M., Bluhm, A., Vollmer, M., Müller, V., Honl, M., Hille, E.,
Schneider, E. and Bergmann, G. "Quantification of Duration and Frequency of
every day activities in total hip patients with a mini computer system", Book
of Abstracts, International Society of Biomechanics XVIIth Congress, p. 84,


PD Dr.habil. Michael M. Morlock Ph.D.
Biomechanics Section
Technical University Hamburg-Harburg
Harburger Schloss-Strasse 36
21079 Hamburg, Germany
phone: +49 - 40 - 42878 3175
fax:      +49 - 40 - 42878 2996

The only reference that I have is:

Sequeira, M.M., Rickenbach, M., Wietlisbach, V., Tullen, B., and Schutz, Y.
(1995) ìPhysical Activity Assessment Using a Pedometer and Its Comparison
a Questionnaire in a Large Population Surveyî, Am J Epidemiol, 142:989-99.

Unfortunately I don't have it in hand, but I know that it covered a wide
of subjects.

-Derek Lindsey
University of California, Davis
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group

Numbers in the paper:
493 (265m, 228f) inidviduals, age 25 - 74. the average number of steps per
day decreased from 11'900 to 6'700 and from  9'300 to 7'300 for men and
women, respectively, in the youngest to the oldest groups.

I did a one person test for one year to count the number of steps.  It came
out to about 4 million for the year.  Unpublished but in the works.

I would be interested in hearing what information you get.

Best regards,

Peter A. Torzilli, Ph.D.
Laboratory for Soft Tissue Research
Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021-4892
Office: 212-606-1087
FAX:   212-249-2373

The human reference is N. Wallbridge and D. Dowson (1982) The walking
activity of patients with artificial joints Engineering in Medicine Vol 11
pp 96-97 and was from pedometry data and gave 0.5 to 2 miilion cycles per
year for humans dropping with age.


Liz Tanner

I can't help with the number of dog cycles but human I can.
Try Schmalzried et al (1998) J. of Bone and Joint Surgery, 80-A, 54-59.

Dr. Simon Smith
University of Durham


Clinic for Small Animals
Divison of Surgery and Orthopaedics
University of Berne
Laenggass-Strasse 128
Tel: +41 31 631 23 15
dir:  +41 31 631 24 01

The average American walks 92,375 miles during his or her lifetime according to Tom Heyman in IN
For comparisons of walking speeds between countries, see:
MERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS, 11/97, P. 20+ Revised: July 15, 1999
P. Wirtz/ G. Ries: The pace of life - reanalized: why does walking speed of pedestrians correlate with city size ?
Behaviour 123, 77-83
Chris Kirtley

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