Relationships Between Risk of Falling´Physical Functions and Gait Parameters in Elderly People

Dovydas Vitkus1, Marija Tamulaitiene1, Julius Griskevicius1,2, Liudvikas Petrauskas, Andrius Apsega1, Viktorija Sevcenko1, Kristina Daunoraviciene2, Asta Mastaviciute1, Vidmantas Alekna1

1 Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania

2 Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Various tools are currently applied in clinical practice to evaluate fall risk. There is no consistency among clinicians regarding the best tool for assessing fall risk. [1] The predictive power of functional measures like  the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test is only moderate. [2] Since objectively measured gait characteristics have been associated with fall risk [3], ob- jective gait analysis is indicated as an important fall risk screening tool.

Wearable sensor-based gait analysis (WSGA) have been applied to analyze gait objectively and reliably [4] and to differentiate fallers from non-fallers. [5] Direct relationships between ob- jectively measured gait characteristics as measured by WSGA and commonly used subjective scales for fall risk, like the TUG test, are currently missing.

Table 1: Discriminative power of the SarQoL® questionnaire in frailty.


The purpose of the study is to inves- tigate the relations between the risk of falling, physical functions and gait parameters.

Table 2: Evaluation of responsiveness with hypotheses of changes observed over an interval of 3 years.

Materials and Methods

Inclusion criteria: age 60 and more years; ability to walk 4 meters without any assisting device. Exclusion crite- ria: Mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score ≤20, terminal illness. The risk of falling was evaluated by TUG test. Patients were divided into: those with TUG time >14 sec. (n=35) were identified as having high risk of falling (HRF), and those with TUG test <14 sec. (n=72) as having low risk of falling (LRF). Short physical per- formance battery (SPPB) test, Tinetti test, Dynamic gait index (DGI), and Physical activity scale for elderly (PASE) were used to evaluate physi- cal functions. Using 6 inertial sensors attached to the shins, thighs and feet, such parameters as gait speed, stride, stance time, swing, double support time, and cadence were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed using independent samples T-test, Chi-Square test and Pearson correla- tion criterion.


Data of 112 patients (73 women and 39 men) with average age 75±8.7 years were analysed. The average age in HRF group was higher compared to LRF group. Patients with LRF had higher PASE score than those with HRF, higher Tinetti test score, higher BERG test score and SPPB score. TUG test time correlated with age (r=0.44, p<0.05). Negative correla- tions of TUG test time were found with SPPB (r=-0.62, p<0.005), BERG (r=-0.66, p<0.05), and DGI (r=- 0.57, p<0.05) tests scores. TUG test time correlated with most of gait para- meters: walk time (p<0.05), both legs stance time (p<0.05), stride time (p<0.05), double support time (p<0.05), step time (p<0.05), and negatively with gait velocity (p<0.05), cadence (p<0.05), and step length (p<0.005).


High risk of falling in older persons was associated with older age, lower physical activity and physical func- tions, longer walk time, lower gait velocity and shorter step.

Conflict of interests: All authors state that they have no conflicts of interests. Source: Published as abstract in Volume 31 Supplement 1 of „Osteoporosis International“


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Dovydas Vitkus

Faculty of Medicine
Vilnius University
LT-03101 Vilnius (Lithuania)