Children performance in stair descent
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Stair descent has been widely investigated respect to a lot of dimensions and conditions: kinematics and dynamics, stair inclination (Riener et al., 2002), influence of visual system (Christina & Cavanagh, 2002), and many others. However, these studies were devoted to analyse the performance of adults and/or elderly people: the latter are known to be more sensible to differences in the stair task respect to the level walking, and therefore more likely to fall. Moreover, it has been proved that the greater amount of fallings occurs while performing the last three steps, suggesting that the problem could be related with the switch between the stair descent and the level walking, instead of the stair descent by itself. Stair descent could be a dangerous task overall for subjects suffering of pathogenesis of lower-extremity disorders (Brechter & Powers, 2001), or with cerebellar injuries. In the meanwhile, only few studies (Sienko Thomas et al., 2002) investigated the performance of children. While it is proved that, in level walking, from 5 to 7 years old their performance is similar to the adults’ one (McFadyen et al., 2001), nothing is said about how they deal with the stair task. The purpose of this study is to provide normative data on the performance of children in early puberty age, while facing with the stair descent task. Particular attention would be paid on the cycle of step involved in the switch between the stair and the ground.
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