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The effects of speed and terrain characteristics on the distribution of force and plantar pressure during the gait of children with different levels of physical activity

Dijana Laštro ,
Dijana Laštro
Contact Dijana Laštro

Institute for physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery “Dr Miroslav Zotović” Banja Luka, Public Health Institute of the Republic of Srpska, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Olivera Pilipović Spasojević ,
Olivera Pilipović Spasojević

Faculty of Medicine , University of Banja Luka, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mirsad Muftić
Mirsad Muftić

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Introduction. The adoption of correct walking patterns is an indicator of the locomotor system readiness to establish optimal interaction between body force and the surface, and the way of creating pressure exerted by the feet during the walking cycle. The aim was to examine how the speed and characteristics of the terrain affect the distribution of force and plantar pressure during the gait of children with different levels of physical activity.

Methods. A prospective comparative study included 150 students aged 11–12 years and their parents from Banja Luka. According to the protocol, each group of subjects walked at average and maximum speed on flat and 5% inclined terrain. For the purposes of the research, the Physical Activity Questionnaire PAQ-C (The Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children), a survey questionnaire for parents, measurement of anthropometric parameters and Zebris strips (Zebris Medical GmbH, Germany) were used for gait analysis.

Results. When walking at maximum speed in inactive subjects, the maximum force on the left (F(148) = 14.878, p < 0.001) and right (F(148) = 8.204, p < 0.001) heel decreased, while in moderately and highly active subjects it grew moderately. In highly active subjects, the highest value of maximum pressure was registered (d = -1.41 for the left leg and d = 1.36 for the right leg). When the slope of the terrain changes in inactive subjects, the maximum force on the front part of both feet decreased (F(148) = 5.043, p = 0.008, d = 0). The influence of terrain characteristics was such that walking on a 5% incline almost as a rule had greater effects on inactive children, while moderately and highly physically active children gave an adequate response when walking on the 5% incline.

Conclusion. Urbanization and new developments in society impose the need to involve children in organized activities so that children acquire the skills and demonstrate the competence they face in their environment.


Authors retain copyright. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License

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