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Arm swing asymmetry in overground walking


Abstract

Treadmill experiments suggest that left-dominant arm swing is common in healthy walking adults and is modulated by cognitive dual-tasking. Little is known about arm swing asymmetry in overground walking. We report directional (dASI) and non-directional arm swing symmetry indices (ndASI) from 334 adults (mean age 68.6 ± 5.9 y) walking overground at comfortable (NW) and fast (FW) speeds and while completing a serial subtraction task (DT). dASI and ndASI were calculated from sagittal shoulder range of motion data generated by inertial measurement units affixed to the wrist. Most (91%) participants were right-handed. Group mean arm swing amplitude was significantly larger on the left in all walking conditions. During NW, ndASI was 39.5 ± 21.8, with a dASI of 21.9 ± 39.5. Distribution of dASI was bimodal with an approximately 2:1 ratio of left:right-dominant arm swing. There were no differences in ndASI between conditions but dASI was smaller during DT compared to FW (15.2 vs 24.6; p = 0.009). Handedness was unrelated to ndASI, dASI or the change in ASI metrics under DT. Left-dominant arm swing is the norm in healthy human walking irrespective of walking condition or handedness. As disease markers, ndASI and dASI may have different and complementary roles.

Abstract

Treadmill experiments suggest that left-dominant arm swing is common in healthy walking adults and is modulated by cognitive dual-tasking. Little is known about arm swing asymmetry in overground walking. We report directional (dASI) and non-directional arm swing symmetry indices (ndASI) from 334 adults (mean age 68.6 ± 5.9 y) walking overground at comfortable (NW) and fast (FW) speeds and while completing a serial subtraction task (DT). dASI and ndASI were calculated from sagittal shoulder range of motion data generated by inertial measurement units affixed to the wrist. Most (91%) participants were right-handed. Group mean arm swing amplitude was significantly larger on the left in all walking conditions. During NW, ndASI was 39.5 ± 21.8, with a dASI of 21.9 ± 39.5. Distribution of dASI was bimodal with an approximately 2:1 ratio of left:right-dominant arm swing. There were no differences in ndASI between conditions but dASI was smaller during DT compared to FW (15.2 vs 24.6; p = 0.009). Handedness was unrelated to ndASI, dASI or the change in ASI metrics under DT. Left-dominant arm swing is the norm in healthy human walking irrespective of walking condition or handedness. As disease markers, ndASI and dASI may have different and complementary roles.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:24 August 2018
Deposited On:12 Sep 2018 12:13
Last Modified:30 Sep 2018 23:59
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31151-9
PubMed ID:30143717

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