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Negotiating stairs with an inconsistent riser: Implications for stepping safety

Francksen, NC, Ackermans, TMA, Holzer, D, Ebner, SA, Maganaris, CN, Hollands, MA, Karamanidis, K, Roys, M and O'Brien, TD (2020) Negotiating stairs with an inconsistent riser: Implications for stepping safety. Applied Ergonomics, 87. ISSN 0003-6870

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Stairs are associated with falls, especially when step dimensions are inconsistent. However, the mechanisms by which inconsistencies cause this higher risk are mostly theoretical. In this experimental study we quantified the effect of inconsistent rise heights on biomechanical measurements of stepping safety from younger (n = 26) and older adults (n = 33). In ascent, both groups decreased foot clearance (~9 mm) over the inconsistently higher step (F(1,56) = 48.4, p < 0.001). In descent, they reduced foot contact length on the higher step by 3% (F(1,56) = 9.1, p < 0.01). Reduced clearance may result in a toe-catch potentially leading to a trip, while reduced foot contact lengths increase the risk of overstepping which may also lead to a fall. These effects occurred because participants did not alter their foot trajectories, indicating they either did not detect or were not able to adjust to the inconsistent rise, increasing the likelihood of a fall. Consistent stair construction is vital, and existing inconsistencies should be identified and safety interventions developed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences, 1116 Medical Physiology, 1203 Design Practice and Management
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 08:26
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:01
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.apergo.2020.103131
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13279
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