Step & Stride Length
Most computerised motion analysis systems provide a printout of the
general gait measures, which includes step and stride lengths. For example,
here's the report for the last Case of
Notice that the right and left step lengths are quite different: the
right is 43.3 cm, while the left is 36.1 cm.
Look at the following definitions:
- "the stride length is the distance between
two successive placements of the same foot. It consists of two
step lengths, left and right, each of which is the distance by which the
named foot moves forward in front of the other one. In pathological gait,
it is perfectly possible for the two step lengths
to be different. If the left foot is moved forward to take a
step, and the right one is brought up beside it, rather than in front of
it, the right step length will be zero....However, the
stride length measured between successive positions of the left foot must
always be the same as that measured from the right foot, unless the subject
is walking around a curve." (Mike Whittle, Gait
- "stride length is the horizontal distance
covered along the plane of progression during one stride; it
is the distance covered from IC to IC of the same foot... equal to the
sum of the two step lengths and will be equal
for left and right limbs if the person is walking in a straight line, even
in the prescence of marked assymetry... Specific step lengths
for right and left side must be measured within the same stride. The term
can also be used to specify an average step length over many strides."
(David Winter, The
Biomechanics & Motor Control of Human Gait)
None of these definitions (by very respected researchers in the field),
of a fundamental and seemingly trivial gait parameter, seem to agree!
- Can the right and left sides of the body really travel different distances
and still remain joined together?
- What are the correct definitions of step & stride length?
- What is the significance of different step lengths in a gait report?
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