In very young children, immature control of posture and gait result in an unsteady gait. By about three years of age, gait appears relatively mature. However, it is unknown whether the dynamics of walking change beyond this age. Because stride dynamics depend on neural control, we hypothesized that gait dynamics would continue to develop beyond age three. To test this hypothesis, we measured the gait cycle duration on a stride-by-stride basis in healthy children (n=50) ages 3 to 14 years old, using a portable foot-switch device inserted inside of shoes. The figure on the right shows representative walking time series of 4, 7, and 11-year-old children.
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