Effect of Concussion on Inter-joint Coordination During Divided-Attention Gait
This study investigates the effect of concussion on the inter-joint coordination of the lower extremities during walking. Gait analyses were performed on 15 young adults who had suffered a concussion and 15 matched controls while walking on level ground with and without a concurrent cognitive task. The continuous relative phase (CRP), derived from phase planes of two adjacent joints, was used to assess the inter-joint coordination. Variability of coordination was assessed using the average value of all standard deviations calculated for each data point over the stance or swing phases from all CRP curves, namely the deviation phase. The results show that subjects who had had a concussion achieved a level of performance on the concurrent cognitive task similar to that of their matched controls, but had altered gait performance. The temporal–spatial gait control and the kinematic control of each individual joint were found to be altered immediately following a concussion. Patterns of the inter-joint coordination were similar to those of normal individuals. However, greater variability of inter-joint coordination patterns was found in swing phase hip–knee coordination. Examination of the inter-joint coordination could explain the observed deviations in gait performance and joint motion of individuals who had suffered a concussion.