Comparison of Spatiotemporal and Energy Cost of the Use of 3 Different Walkers and Unassisted Walking in Older Adults

Elizabeth J. Protas, Mary Lynn Raines, Sandrine Tissier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Scopus citations


    Protas EJ, Raines ML, Tissier S. Comparison of spatiotemporal and energy cost of the use of 3 different walkers and unassisted walking in older adults. Objective: To compare temporal, spatial, and oxygen costs of gait while elderly subjects walked without an assistive device, with a new assistive device, and with 2 other commercially available assistive devices. Design: Descriptive, repeated measures. Setting: University-based research laboratory. Participants: Thirteen healthy older subjects who could walk without an assistive device. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Gait speed, normalized gait speed, cadence, stride lengths, 5-minute walk distance and gait speed, oxygen consumption (V̇o2) per meter walked, respiratory exchange ratio (RER) per meter walked, and minute ventilation per meter walked. Results: Gait speed, normalized gait speed, and stride lengths decreased when the Merry Walker device was used, compared with walking without an assistive device. Outcome measures when walking with either the wheeled walker or the WalkAbout did not differ significantly from walking without a device except for a faster cadence with the WalkAbout. The distance walked and gait speed were decreased and the RER and minute ventilation were increased during the 5-minute walk with the Merry Walker compared with normal walking. The V̇o2 was higher with the wheeled walker and Merry Walker than when walking without an assistive device, but there was no difference when the WalkAbout was used. Conclusions: Older adults walked in the new assistive device, the WalkAbout, with parameters that did not differ significantly from their gait without a device. The oxygen demands of walking were similar to unassisted walking for the WalkAbout, but were higher for the wheeled walker and Merry Walker. These results may help guide the prescription of assistive devices for older adults.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)768-773
    Number of pages6
    JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 2007


    • Aging
    • Assistive devices
    • Gait
    • Rehabilitation
    • Walkers

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Rehabilitation


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