Today we’re going to take a look at the Dynamic Gait Index
and this is a functional gait assessment used to assess fall risk. It has eight different categories and the
categories are each rated from zero to three and in those categories, three is considered
normal with decreasing ability going to zero.
If you score 24 out of 24, that is normal. As you become less able to perform the test,
then anything less than 19 out of 24 is considered in a category of at risk for
The first category is walking on a level surface and so
you’ll walk at your normal speed, from the beginning to the end of a 20 foot
length and then it is graded on the use of the different speed, gait pattern
and gait deviations.
The second category of the Dynamic Gait Index is change in
gait speed. So you begin walking at your
normal pace for about five feet, then when you’re told to walk fast, you walk
fast for five feet, and then when told to walk slow, you walk slow for five
feet. Again it is rated on the
significant difference in walking speeds and gait deviations seen.
Category 3 of the Dynamic Gait Index is for gait with
horizontal head turns. You begin walking
looking straight ahead at your normal pace and then when told, you look to the
right for about three steps and then you look to the left for about three steps
and again it is rated on change in gait speed and disruption of smooth speed
and gait deviation.
Category 4 of the Dynamic Gait Index is gait with vertical
head turns. You begin walking, looking
straight ahead at your normal pace. When
told to look up, you try to look up and keep walking straight, and then when
you’re told to look down, you walk with your head looking down for three steps. Again it’s rated on any change in gait
deviations or speed and use of assistive devices.
Category 5 of the Dynamic Gait Index is gait and pivot
turn. With this one you begin walking at
your normal pace and when told to turn and stop, you quickly turn and face the
opposite direction and stop. This one is
rated to be done within three seconds and if there’s any mild impairment or
gait deviations or seen with having to catch themselves.
Category 6 of the Dynamic Gait Index is stepping over an
obstacle. You begin walking at your
normal speed and when you come to two shoe boxes, then you step over it not
around it and you keep walking for the entire twenty feet. Again this is rated on gait speed and
Category 7 of the Dynamic Gait Index is step around
obstacles. You begin walking at your
normal speed and when you come to the first box or cone, then you walk around
it on the right side of it and when you come to the second cone, you walk
around it on the left side and continue for twenty feet. It is rated on change of speed with obstacles
and gait deviations.
Category 8 of the Dynamic Gait Index is ambulating on
stairs. You walk up stairs as you would
at home, using the rail if necessary and at the top you turn around and walk
down. This is rated on whether there’s
alternating feet on the stairs with no rail, alternating feet with the use of
rail, two feet to the same stairs with rail or cannot perform safely.
The Dynamic Gait Index was developed as a clinical tool
to assess gait, balance and fall risk.
It evaluates not only usual steady walking, but also walking during more