Gait variability is alerted in cancer survivors with self-reported neuropathy

Katherine L. Hsieh, Linda Trinh, Jacob J. Sosnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Falls are prevalent among cancer survivors, and neuropathy, a side effect from chemotherapy treatment, is thought to contribute to falls. While falls commonly occur during walking, there is limited information about gait function in cancer survivors with neuropathy.Research Question: What is the difference between gait speed and gait variability in cancer survivors with and without self-reported neuropathy and healthy controls? Methods: Seventeen cancer survivors and 12 healthy individuals [age: 53.5 (11.8), gender: 10 females] participated in a single testing session. Cancer survivors were grouped into neuropathy [n = 9; age: 61.9 (6.1); gender: 8 females] and no neuropathy [n = 8; age: 50.75 (14.1); gender: 7 females] based on the self-reported FACT/GOG Neurotoxicity subscale questionnaire. All participants completed two walking trials at their comfortable pace across a 6 m pressure sensitive walkway. A one-way ANOVA with Tukey's post-hoc analysis and effect sizes were used to detect differences in gait speed, step length variability, and step width variability between groups. Results: Although there were no group differences in gait speed, a significant main effect was found for step length variability (p = 0.03, η2 = 0.24) between groups. Step length variability was significantly less in cancer survivors with neuropathy than healthy controls (p = 0.05, d = 1.30). There was a significant main effect for step width variability between groups (p = 0.05, η2 = 0.20). Cancer survivors with neuropathy had significantly greater step width variability than healthy controls (p = 0.04, d = 1.04). Significance: Cancer survivors with neuropathy display greater step width variability and less step length variability than healthy controls. Gait variability may be a more sensitive marker than gait speed to track mobility in cancer survivors with neuropathy symptoms. Assessing and treating gait function in cancer survivors with neuropathy symptoms may improve everyday ambulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-210
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Cancer survivors
  • Gait speed
  • Gait variability
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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