Treadmill interface for virtual reality vs. Overground walking: A comparison of gait in individuals with and without pain

Wendy Powell, Brett Stevens, Maureen Simmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


A treadmill (TR) interfaced with a virtual reality (VR) system can provide an engaging environment that could improve activity adherence and walking function for individuals with pain. Furthermore, inclusion of discrete visual and auditory cues into the VR environment (e.g. manipulation of optic flow speed or audio beat frequency) could improve walking. This study compared gait characteristics (speed and cadence) of a baseline over ground walk (OVR) with a TR walk as part of a project to develop gait referenced visual and auditory frequency cues. Thirty-six participants aged between 22 and 80 years, with pain (n=19) and without pain (n=17) took part. A 2×2 MANOVA conducted on the speed and cadence for all participants showed a significant difference between pain and control groups for speed (F1,34 = 9.56, p<0.01) and cadence (F1,34 = 5.75, p<0.05), as well as a significant decrease from overground to treadmill conditions for both speed (F1,34 = 81.39, p<0.01) and cadence (F1,34 = 25.46, p<0.01). Differences between OVR and TR walking indicate that visual or auditory cues for VR walk training should be referenced according to TR baseline measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalAnnual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



  • Pain
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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