The consistency of individual-selected versus rater-determined angle and base of Gait

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Background: Several studies have reported the necessity of using a standardized foot placement to improve reliability when performing standing foot posture measurements. The intent of this study was to determine whether individuals can reliably place their feet in the same standing position after marching in place or whether the standing position must be determined by a rater observing the angle and base of gait during walking to ensure the consistency of foot placement. Methods: Twenty individuals (12 women and 8 men; mean age, 24.8 years) consented to participate. All of the participants were asked to march in place for 10 sec and then to stop in their preferred angle and base foot placement. Participants then walked over an 8-m walkway so that one of two raters could observe the participant's angle and base while walking. An angle and base of gait tracing was then made for each participant's foot placement. Results: The two raters and all of the participants demonstrated high levels of reliability for foot placement between the two sessions. The results indicate that asking the participant to march in place provides a more consistent angle and base foot placement between two sessions compared with having a rater determine the angle and base of gait foot placement after observing the participant while walking. Conclusions: Based on these findings, we recommend using marching in place to position a patient in his or her angle and base foot placement when the measurement or visual assessment of foot posture must be performed for more than one clinical visit.

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