PURPOSE: Aging causes changes in the postural alignment and gait due to changes in the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. On the other hand, the relationship between the changes in posture alignment and gait is unclear. This study examined the relationship between the postural alignment and spatiotemporal gait parameters in Korean elderly women.
METHODS: Thirty-two-healthy elderly women participated in this study. All subjects were assessed for their posture alignment and gait ability. Stepwise multiple linear regression was performed to determine to what extent the postural alignments could explain the spatiotemporal gait parameters.
RESULTS: Coronal head angle was moderately correlated with the velocity (r = -.51), normalized velocity (r = -.46) and gait-stability ratio (r = .58) (p < .05). The trunk angle was moderately correlated with the normalized velocity (r = -.32) and gait-stability ratio (r = .32) and weakly correlated with the velocity (r = -.28) (p < .05). The coronal shoulder angle was moderately correlated with the swing phase (r = -.57), stance phase (r = .56), single limb stance (r = -.56) and double limb stance (r = .51) (p < .05). The coronal head angle and trunk angle accounted for 36% of the variance in velocity, 33% variance in normalized velocity and 46% variance in the gait-stability ratio (p < .05). The coronal shoulder angle accounted for 32% variance in the swing phase, 32% variance in the stance phase, 31% variance in the single limb stance and 26% variance in the double limb stance (p < .05).
CONCLUSION: Changes in posture alignment in elderly women may serve as a biomarker to predict a decrease in walking ability due to physical aging.