Multiple modes of assessment of gait are better than one to predict incident falls

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17 Scopus citations


Background: Though gait evaluation is recommended as a core component of fall risk assessments, a systematic examination of the predictive validity of different modes of gait assessments for falls is lacking. Objective: To compare three commonly employed gait assessments - self-reported walking difficulties, clinical evaluation, and quantitative gait - to predict incident falls. Materials and methods: 380 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 76.5. ±. 6.8. y, 55.8% female) were evaluated with three independent gait assessment modes: patient-centered, quantitative, and clinician-diagnosed. The association of these three gait assessment modes with incident falls was examined using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: 23.2% of participants self-reported walking difficulties, 15.5% had slow gait, and 48.4% clinical gait abnormalities. 30.3% had abnormalities on only one assessment, whereas only 6.3% had abnormalities on all three. Over a mean follow-up of 24.2 months, 137 participants (36.1%) fell. Those with at least two abnormal gait assessments presented an increased risk of incident falls (hazard ratio (HR): 1.61, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-2.49) in comparison to the 169 participants without any abnormalities on any of the three assessments. Conclusions: Multiple modes of gait evaluation provide a more comprehensive mobility assessment than only one assessment alone, and better identify incident falls in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Clinical assessment
  • Falls
  • Gait disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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