Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 31, Issue 12, pp 1843–1846 | Cite as

A simple method to categorize gait speed of older persons based on visual inspection of stepping

  • Ulrich LindemannEmail author
  • Kilian Rapp
  • Clemens Becker
Short Communication


The aim of this study was to develop a simple visualized approach to classify persons into meaningful gait speed categories. Footprints of 310 instrumented gait analyses of 190 geriatric persons (mean age 79.1 years, 74 women) were used in a retrospective analysis to classify persons´ footprints into a left/right step overlapping, an intermediate or a long stepping pattern. The association between gait speed and step length was r = 0.91. More than 75% of the measurements classified as overlapping stepping pattern had a gait speed of below 0.5 m/s. All participants of the long stepping pattern group had a gait speed of faster than 1 m/s. The positive predictive values for classifying gait speed correctly were 71–100%. The proposed screening tool can be used in outpatient settings or home visits and is likely to be applicable if instrumented gait speed assessment is not available.


Gait speed Older persons Visual inspection Stepping pattern 



The authors thank Clara Mohrhard for data collection and Michaela Gross for supervising data collection. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author CB is consultant of E. Lilly, Nutritia and Amgen, Robert Bosch Healthcare and Philips Germany. Author KR is consultant of Amgen. Author UL declares no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the ethical committee of the local university and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from the patients via hospital treatment contract and the use of routine data for this study was approved by the ethical committee of the medical faculty of the University of Tuebingen (241/2016BO1). Participants of the research project gave written informed consent for secondary data analysis. This study was approved by the same ethical committee (578/2011BO2).


  1. 1.
    Studenski S, Perera S, Patel K et al (2011) Gait speed and survival in older adults. JAMA 305:50–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cesari M, Kritchevsky SB, Penninx BWHJ et al (2005) Prognostic value of usual gait speed in well-functioning older people—results from the health, aging and body composition study. J Am Geriatr Soc 53:1675–1680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schoon Y, Bongers K, Van Kempen J et al (2014) Gait speed as a test for monitoring frailty in community-dwelling older people has the highest diagnostic value compared to step length and chair rise time. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 50:693–701PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Verghese J, Holtzer R, Lipton RB et al (2009) Quantitative gait markers and incident fall risk in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 64:896–901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bahureksa L, Najafi B, Saleh A et al (2017) The impact of mild cognitive impairment on gait and balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies using instrumented assessment. Gerontology 63:67–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Montero-Odasso M, Speechley M, Muir-Hunter SW et al (2018) Motor and cognitive trajectories before dementia: results from gait and brain study. J Am Geriatr Soc 66:1676–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fritz S, Lusardi M (2009) White paper: “walking speed: the sixth vital sign”. J Geriatr Phys Ther 32:46–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Guralnik JM, Simonsick EM, Ferrucci L et al (1994) A short physical performance battery assessing lower extremity function: association with self-reported disability and prediction of mortality and nursing home admission. J Gerontol 49:M85–M94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Miller ME, Magaziner J, Marsh AP et al (2018) Gait speed and mobility disability: revisiting meaningful levels in diverse clinical populations. J Am Geriatr Soc 66:954–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gor-García-Fogeda MD, Cano de la Cuerda R, Carratalá Tejada M et al (2016) Observational gait assessments in people with neurological disorders: a systematic review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 97:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aboutorabi A, Arazpour M, Bahramizadeh M et al (2016) The effect of aging on gait parameters in able-bodied older subjects: a literature review. Aging Clin Exp Res 28:393–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Härdi I, Bridenbaugh SA, Gschwind YJ et al (2014) The effect of three different types of walking aids on spatio-temporal gait parameters in community-dwelling older adults. Aging Clin Exp Res 26:221–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geriatrics and Clinic for Geriatric RehabilitationRobert-Bosch-Hospital StuttgartStuttgartGermany

Personalised recommendations