Effects of Backpack Carriage on Gait Parameters in Children

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Carrying a backpack over 2 shoulders is the most efficient means of carriage, but often backpacks are carried over 1 shoulder. Our purpose was to assess walking base of support, stride length, double support time, and velocity when backpacks were carried on 1 or 2 shoulders.


Thirty-two children (12–13 years) were assessed under 2 load conditions using the GAITRite® system.


No significant differences were found in base of support, stride length, or velocity when compared with the unloaded baseline walk. Double limb support significantly increased (p < 0.0001) with both load conditions when compared with the baseline, but not between 1-shoulder and 2-shoulders carriage.


Little change in temporal-spatial gait parameters was noted during backpack use with loads limited to 15% body weight. Future studies need to examine the effects of the child’s height, body mass index, and strength on safe backpack use.

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