Journal Article

Perturbations during gait: A systematic review of methodologies and outcomes


Background: Despite extensive literature regarding laboratory-based balance perturbations, there is no up-to-date systematic review of methods. This systematic review aimed to assess current perturbation methods, and outcome variables used to report participant biomechanical responses during walking. ​​​​​​​Methods: Web of Science, CINAHL and PubMed online databases were searched, for records from 2015, the last search was on 30th of May 2022. Studies were included where participants were 18+ years, with or without clinical conditions, conducted in non-hospital settings. Reviews were excluded. Participant descriptive, perturbation method, outcome variables and results were extracted and summarised. Bias was assessed using the Appraisal tool for Cross-sectional Studies risk of bias assessment tool. Qualitative analysis was performed as the review aimed to investigate methods used to apply perturbations. Results: 644 records were identified and 33 studies were included, totaling 779 participants. The most frequent method of balance perturbation during gait was by means of a treadmill translation. The most frequent outcome variable collected was participant step width, closely followed by step length. Most studies reported at least one spatiotemporal outcome variable. All included studies showed some risk of bias, generally related to reporting of sampling approaches. Large variation in perturbation type, duration and intensity and outcome variables were reported. Conclusions: This review shows the wide variety of published laboratory perturbation methods. Also demonstrating the significant impact on outcome measures of a study based on the type of perturbation used. Registration: PROSPERO ID: CRD42020211876

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Taylor, Zoe
Walsh, Gregory S.
Hawkins, Hannah
Inacio, Mario
Esser, Patrick

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-08-17

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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