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Thu, 1 Jan 2015

Walk this way

Researchers at JCU may be able to help – they are looking for volunteers to help out in a study of walking styles, or gait.

First published 17 October, 2012

Have you ever wondered why you walk the way you do, or if you can change it?

Researchers at James Cook University may be able to help – they are looking for volunteers to help out in a study of walking styles, or gait.

Malindu Fernando, a PhD student in JCU’s Vascular Biology Unit in the School of Medicine, said the study was aimed at healthy people interested in an analysis of their walking style (gait) and foot pressure (plantar pressure).

Mr Fernando said the study, which will take place at JCU’s state-of-the-art Movement Analysis Laboratory (MAB), would provide researchers with important information about their equipment and methods prior to starting a larger diabetes-foot ulceration project.

The data from the study would also be used as a control group comparison to people with type 2 diabetes with and without foot ulcers, he said.

“The first phase of a large study is very important to ensure that all our methods, equipment and techniques are going to give us the information we need,” Mr Fernando said.

Mr Fernando said the participants in this pilot study would also receive verbal feedback on their walking style and how this could be affecting their foot pressure and their overall walking-mechanics.

“There is no cost involved and everyone will receive feedback, especially if they are interested in a particular area of their gait, we will attempt to explain this to them,” he said.

Participants will be required to go to the MAB at JCU, where researchers will explain the procedures involved.

It would be a one-off visit to JCU that will take about 1.5-2 hours to complete. An additional second visit can also be arranged if required, he said.

Special reflective markers will be placed on participant’s lower limb - feet, knees, hips and lower back to assess their gait, and they will need to dress in light clothing, such as shorts and t-shirt. No special shoes will be required.

“They will also have a non-invasive vascular and neurological assessment done to provide information about how healthy their lower-limb function is.”

Mr Fernando said anyone from the JCU or wider community who is healthy (without chronic disease), who has not had major orthopaedic surgery and aged over 18 interested in participating can contact him directly.

“We are appealing to the wider community, in particular, JCU staff and students who are keen to be involved in movement analysis research are encouraged to be involved. Everyone that

participates will contribute towards valuable medical research.”

For more information, or interviews, contact Mal Fernando on (07) 4781 3144 or email malindu.fernando@my.jcu.edu.au

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175