Gait-initiation onset estimation during sit-to-walk: Recommended methods suitable for healthy individuals and ambulatory community-dwelling stroke survivors

Gareth D. Jones, Darren C. James, Michael Thacker, Rhian Perry, David A. Green

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Gait-initiation onset (GI-onset) during sit-to-walk (STW) is commonly defined by mediolateral ground-reaction-force (xGRF) rising and crossing a threshold pre-determined from sitto- stand peak xGRF. However, after stroke this method [xGRFthresh] lacks validity due to impaired STW performance. Instead, methodologies based upon instance of swing-limb maximum-vertical-GRF [vGRFmaxSWING], maximum-xGRF [xGRFmax], and swing-limb heel-off [firstHEELoff] can be applied, although their validity is unclear. Therefore, we determined these methodologies' validity by revealing the shortest transition-time (seat-off-GIonset), their utility in routinely estimating GI-onset, and whether they exhibited satisfactory intra-subject reliability. 


Twenty community-dwelling stroke (60 (SD 14) years), and twenty-one age-matched healthy volunteers (63 (13) years) performed 5 standardised STW trials with 2 force-plates and optical motion-tracking. Transition-time differences across-methods were assessed using Friedman tests with post-hoc pairwise-comparisons. Within-method single-measure intra-subject reliability was determined using ICC3,1 and standard errors of measurement (SEMs). 


In the healthy group, median xGRFthresh transition-time was significantly shorter than xGRFmax (0.183s). In both the healthy and stroke groups, xGRFthresh transition-times (0.027s, 0.695s respectively) and vGRFmaxSWING (0.080s, 0.522s) were significantly shorter than firstHEELoff (0.293s, 1.085s) (p<0.001 in all cases). GI-onset failed to be estimated in 48% of stroke trials using xGRFthresh. Intra-subject variability was relatively high but was comparable across all estimation methods. 


The firstHEELoff method yielded significantly longer transition-times. The xGRFthresh method failed to routinely produce an estimation of GI-onset estimation. Thus, with all methods exhibiting low, yet comparable intra-subject repeatability, averaged xGRFmax or vGRFmaxSWING repeated-measures are recommended to estimate GI-onset for both healthy and community-dwelling stroke individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217563
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019


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