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The major requirements for successful walking include:1


  • Support of body mass by the lower extremities.
  • Production of a locomotor rhythm—the stretch reflex and the extensor thrust.2 The stretch reflex is involved in the extremes of joint motion, while the extensor thrust may facilitate the extensor muscles of the lower extremity during weight bearing.3
  • Dynamic balance control of the moving body.
  • Propulsion of the body in the intended direction.
  • Adaptability of locomotor responses to changing task and environmental demands.


A number of parameters are used to describe gait (Table 7–1).

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 7-1. Gait Parameters

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