Detection of gait instability using the center of mass and center of pressure inclination angles

Heng Ju Lee, Li Shan Chou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To define a parameter that quantifies balance control during gait and better identifies elderly people who are at a higher risk of falling. Design: Controlled study. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Twelve elderly patients (mean age, 76.9±6y) with complaints of imbalance during walking, or with a history of falls, and 12 matched healthy elderly adults. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Temporal-distance gait parameters (gait velocity, stride length, step width); and sagittal and frontal center of mass (COM) and center of pressure (COP) inclination angles. Results: Elderly patients demonstrated a significantly greater medial, but a significantly smaller anterior, inclination angle than their matched controls during both unobstructed and obstructed gait. The medial COM-COP inclination angle was not affected by the gait velocity in the healthy elderly. When the 2 groups were compared at a similar gait velocity (≈1m/s), the elderly patients still had a significantly greater medial COM-COP inclination angle than did the controls. Conclusions: Instantaneous COM-COP inclination angles during walking provide information about the ability to control COM position in relation to the corresponding COP. The medial COM-COP inclination angle may be a sensitive measure of gait stability in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidental falls
  • Elderly
  • Equilibrium
  • Gait
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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