Mechanical Differences between Men and Women during Overground Load Carriage at Self-Selected Walking Speeds
journal contributionposted on 12.05.2022, 02:13 by Kane MiddletonKane Middleton, Danielle Vickery-HoweDanielle Vickery-Howe, Ben Dascombe, Anthea ClarkeAnthea Clarke, Jon Wheat, Jodie McClellandJodie McClelland, Jace Drain
Few studies have directly compared physical responses to relative loading strategies between men and women during overground walking. This study aimed to compare gait mechanics of men and women during overground load carriage. A total of 30 participants (15 male, 15 female) completed three 10-min walking trials while carrying external loads of 0%, 20% and 40% of body mass at a self-selected walking speed. Lower-body motion and ground reaction forces were collected using a three-dimensional motion capture system and force plates, respectively. Female participants walked with a higher cadence (p = 0.002) and spent less absolute time in stance (p = 0.010) but had similar self-selected walking speed (p = 0.750), which was likely due to the female participants being shorter than the male participants. Except for ankle plantarflexion moments, there were no sex differences in spatiotemporal, kinematic, or kinetic variables (p > 0.05). Increasing loads resulted in significantly lower self-selected walking speed, greater stance time, and changes in all joint kinematics and kinetics across the gait cycle (p < 0.05). In conclusion, there were few differences between sexes in walking mechanics during overground load carriage. The changes identified in this study may inform training programs to increase load carriage performance.