Volitional Head Movement Deficits and Alterations in Gait Speed Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Brian J. Loyd, Leland E. Dibble, Margaret M. Weightman, Ryan Pelo, Carrie W. Hoppes, Mark Lester, Laurie A. King, Peter C. Fino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Unconstrained head motion is necessary to scan for visual cues during navigation, for minimizing threats, and to allow regulation of balance. Following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) people may experience alterations in head movement kinematics, which may be pronounced during gait tasks. Gait speed may also be impacted by the need to turn the head while walking in these individuals. The aim of this study was to examine head kinematics during dynamic gait tasks and the interaction between kinematics and gait speed in people with persistent symptoms after mTBI. Setting: A clinical assessment laboratory. Design: A cross-sectional, matched-cohort study. Participants: Forty-five individuals with a history of mTBI and 46 age-matched control individuals. Main Measures: All participants were tested at a single time point and completed the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) while wearing a suite of body-mounted inertial measurement units (IMUs). Data collected from the IMUs were gait speed, and peak head rotation speed and amplitude in the yaw and pitch planes during the FGA-1, -3, and -4 tasks. Results: Participants with mTBI demonstrated significantly slower head rotations in the yaw (P =.0008) and pitch (P =.002) planes. They also demonstrated significantly reduced amplitude of yaw plane head rotations (P <.0001), but not pitch plane head rotations (P =.84). Participants with mTBI had significantly slower gait speed during normal gait (FGA-1) (P <.001) and experienced a significantly greater percent decrease in gait speed than healthy controls when walking with yaw plane head rotations (FGA-3) (P =.02), but not pitch plane head rotations (FGA-4) (P =.11). Conclusions: Participants with mTBI demonstrated smaller amplitudes and slower speeds of yaw plane head rotations and slower speeds of pitch plane head rotations during gait. Additionally, people with mTBI walked slower during normal gait and demonstrated a greater reduction in gait speed while walking with yaw plane head rotations compared with healthy controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E223-E232
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2023

Keywords

  • dual task
  • function
  • gait speed
  • head control
  • inertial measurement unit
  • kinematics
  • mild
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Brain Concussion/complications
  • Head Movements/physiology
  • Walking/physiology
  • Gait/physiology
  • Walking Speed
  • Cohort Studies

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