Gait initiation time is associated with the risk of multiple falls-A population-based study

Michele L. Callisaya, Leigh Blizzard, Kara Martin, Velandai K. Srikanth

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: In a population-based study of older people to examine whether 1) overall gait initiation (GI) time or its components are associated with falls and 2) GI under dual-task is a stronger predictor of falls risk than under single-task. Methods: Participants aged 60-85 years were randomly selected from the electoral roll. GI was obtained with a force platform under both single and dual-task conditions. Falls were ascertained prospectively over a 12-month period. Log multinomial regression was used to examine the association between GI time (total and its components) and risk of single and multiple falls. Age, sex and physiological and cognitive falls risk factors were considered as confounders. Results: The mean age of the sample (n = 124) was 71.0 (SD 6.8) years and 58.9% (n = 73) were male. Over 12 months 21.8% (n = 27) of participants reported a single fall and 16.1% (n = 20) reported multiple falls. Slower overall GI time under both single (RR all per 100 ms 1.28, 95%CI 1.03, 1.58) and dual-task (RR 1.14, 95%CI 1.02, 1.27) was associated with increased risk of multiple, but not single falls (p < 0.05). Multiple falls were also associated with slower time to first lateral movement under single-task (RR 1.90 95%CI 0.59, 1.51) and swing time under dual-task condition (RR 1.44 95%CI 1.08, 1.94). Conclusion: Slower GI time is associated with the risk of multiple falls independent of other risk factors, suggesting it could be used as part of a comprehensive falls assessment. Time to the first lateral movement under single-task may be the best measures of this risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Accidental falls
  • Gait
  • Gait initiation
  • Older people
  • Physical examination
  • Population based

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