Age related changes in gait variability, asymmetry, and bilateral coordination – When does deterioration starts?

Sean Zadik, Amit Benady, Shmuel Gutwillig, Michelle M. Florentine, Ryan Eli Solymani, Meir Plotnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Gait pattern coordination is affected by several factors (e.g., neurodegeneration), while aging is known to have a significant negative impact. Various gait parameters, such as gait asymmetry (GA) and stride time coefficient of variation (CV), are widely used in both research and clinical settings in order to evaluate human locomotion. Another parameter is the phase coordination index (PCI), which specifically assesses bilateral coordination of gait (BCG), by quantifying the consistency and accuracy of the anti-phased stepping pattern. Objective: In this study we hypothesized that there is a steady deterioration in the bilateral coordination of walking through ageing, and in gait rhythmicity, which would be evident by an increase in the values of the coordination parameters which are examined. Methods: We analyzed gait cycles of 66 healthy participants in ages between 40 and 85 years which were divided into five age groups (40–44; 45–54; 55–64; 75 +). The participants performed corridor walking (i.e., back and forth) wearing a computerized motion sensor-based gait analysis system. PCI, CV and GA parameters were calculated for the straight-line walking segments. Results: PCI values remained relatively stable between the ages of 40–75 (3.16 ± 1.11%), while in the age group of 75 + years old we observed a significant increase (i.e., deterioration in BCG) in PCI values (5.68 ± 2.01%, p < 0.047). Same pattern was seen for the CV parameter. However, GA was not statistically significantly different between all age groups. Conclusion: It appears that PCI and CV are more sensitive measures to detect changes in gait through the aging process. The results suggest that potential screening to detect salient gait deterioration should start from the age of 70. On the other hand, GA may be used to identify neurological impairments if found increased at any age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Aging
  • Bilateral coordination of gait
  • Gait
  • Gait asymmetry
  • Phase coordination index


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