Margin of Stability May Be Larger and Less Variable during Treadmill Walking Versus Overground. Academic Article uri icon


  • Margin of stability (MOS) is considered a measure of mechanical gait stability. Due to broad application of treadmills in gait assessment experiments, we aimed to determine if walking on a treadmill vs. overground would affect MOS during three speed-matched conditions. Eight healthy young participants walked on a treadmill and overground at Slow, Preferred, and Fast speed-matched conditions. The mean and variability (standard deviation) of the MOS in anterior-posterior and mediolateral directions at heel contact were calculated. Anterior-posterior and mediolateral mean MOS values decreased with increased speed for both overground and treadmill; although mediolateral mean MOS was always wider on the treadmill compared to overground. Due to lack of optic flow and different proprioceptive inputs during treadmill walking, subjects may employ strategies to increase their lateral stability on treadmill compared to overground. Anterior-posterior MOS variability increased with speed overground, while it did not change on treadmill, which might be due to the fixed speed of treadmill. Whereas, lateral variability on both treadmill and overground was U-shaped. Walking at preferred speed was less variable (may be interpreted as more stable) laterally, compared to fast and slow speeds. Caution should be given when interpreting MOS between modes and speeds of walking. As sagittal plane walking is functionally unstable, this raises the consideration as to the meaningfulness of using MOS as a global measure of gait stability in this direction.

published proceedings

  • Biomechanics (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 3.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Fallahtafti, F., Gonabadi, A. M., Samson, K., & Yentes, J. M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Fallahtafti, Farahnaz||Gonabadi, Arash Mohammadzadeh||Samson, Kaeli||Yentes, Jennifer M

publication date

  • June 2021