Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Bradley Bowser


assistive devices, elderly, gait, walkers, walking aids


INTRODUCTION: Millions of individuals with ambulatory difficulties rely on walking aids to maintain independence and mobility. However, users of traditional walkers typically exhibit increased forward lean of their trunk while using the assistive device. The KB Balance Trainer is a new posterior walker designed to facilitate a more erect position during gait. PURPOSE: To compare gait mechanics across three walking conditions: unassisted, using a traditional walker, and using the KB Balance Trainer. METHODS: Seven adults with experience using walkers due to ambulatory difficulties participated in the study. The study consisted of one training session and one gait analysis session. The training session was 30 minutes of instruction and practice on how to properly use each assistive device. During the data collection, participants walked on flat ground in three walking conditions at a self-selected speed: walking with the traditional walker (TW), the KB Balance Trainer (KB), or unassisted (UW). RESULTS, DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION: Gait speed increased similarly while using both assisted devices compared to unassisted walking, showing that the KB was as effective as the TW to aid in mobility. The KB showed slightly less mean trunk flexion than the TW. However, mean trunk flexion was greater while using either device compared to unassisted walking. Therefore, neither device was able to promote erect posture. In addition, hand to hip distance showed that participants incorrectly used the KB Balance Trainer. It is possible that the KB Balance Trainer can facilitate a more erect posture than a traditional walker if sufficient training is provided and if it is used correctly.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Walkers (Orthopedic apparatus)
Walkers (Orthopedic apparatus) -- Evaluation.
Gait in humans.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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