2017 Volume 7 Issue 3 Pages 127-131
The incidence of falls has been reported to be high among the elderly in a depressed state, indicating that such a state is a risk factor for falls. This study aimed to clarify the gait patterns of the elderly showing a tendency toward depression, using a sheettype gait analysis device. On comparison of the gait patterns of 17 (depression group) and 68(non-depression group) elderly individuals, who met 2 or more criteria of the 5-item Geriatric Depression Scale, the former showed a significantly lower gait speedwithmarkedly shorter strides and/or step lengths. Furthermore, the durations of the stance phase and double-support were significantly longer in the depression compared with non-depression groups. On the other hand, there were no significant differences between them in the cadence, step width, foot or gait angle, duration of the swing phase, or fluctuations in the center of the body mass. In short, the gait of the elderly showing a tendency toward depression was characterized by decreases in the stride and/or step length influencing the gait speed, as well as the prolongation of the stance phase and double support. However, neither a significant decrease in the standing balance ability nor increase in the step width or gait angle to compensate for instability, which is characteristic of the elderly with an increased risk of falls, was observed. Based on this, the increased risk of falls in the elderly showing a tendency toward depression may be associated with declines in physical fitness due to reduced attentiveness or inactivity, rather than such a tendency, as the latter itself is unlikely to lead to poor standing balance.