The purpose of the study was to reach a better understanding of the influence of arm movement in human gait. DESIGN: The experiment involved the adoption of different arm-swing patterns by normal subjects who walked in a gait laboratory. BACKGROUND: The reciprocal swinging of the arms in walking plays an important role in gait, but the details require further research. More insight into the role of the arm-swing in gait could be obtained by adopting different arm-swing patterns while walking at different speeds. METHOD: Thirteen normal subjects were therefore requested to walk adopting different arm-swing patterns which included, one or both arms strapped to the body, full reciprocal excursion of both arms, pace walking and swinging the arms in parallel. From measurements made at different speeds of walking, regressions were calculated which made it possible to compare basal gait characteristics of the different arm patterns. RESULTS: Maximum velocity decreased in all cases. In the test conditions where the arms were strapped, the subjects increased velocity by increasing stride frequency more than stride length. In the other conditions the reverse was the case. CONCLUSION: The experiments show that the gait pattern is very much influenced by changes in arm-swing but the effects are related to the pattern of arm-swing and the speed of walking.
Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) 11/1997; 12(7-8):516-521. DOI:10.1016/S0268-0033(97)00050-8