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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of dominant leg, lower leg casting on energy cost during independent ambulation. The Physiological Cost Index, predicted VO2max, and gait speed values of a Quarter-Mile Walk Test, with and without lower leg casting, were utilized to determine energy cost. Methods: Thirty-five subjects who were 23 to 32 years old (mean age 25.37 ± 2.02) performed the Quarter-Mile Walk Test at their comfortable walking speed on two occasions, one with and one without lower leg casting. Resting heart rate, walking heart rate, and time to complete the test were recorded. Physiological Cost Index, predicted VO2max, and gait speed formulas were used to calculate results.Results: Physiological Cost Index increased when walking with the lower leg cast, but was not statistically significant (p=.3939). A statistically significant decrease was seen with predicted VO2max (p<.0001) and gait speed (p<.0001) when walking with a lower leg cast. Conclusions: Predicted VO2max and gait speed decreased when walking with a lower leg cast on the dominant leg. This finding indicates that as subjects altered their self-selected speed, predicted VO2max decreased with gait speed.

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