Urinary incontinence and OAB are associated with increased falls risk in older people suggesting a potential relationship between bladder functioning and control of gait. To begin to understand the possible interaction between gait and bladder control this exploratory study aimed to examine the effects of controlling the bladder on gait parameters in healthy adult women.
Thirty-six continent women (mean age 50.8 ± 15.8 years), participated in this observational cohort study. Subjects walked three times along an electronic walkway under three different bladder conditions; first desire to void (FDV), strong desire to void (SDV), and post void (PV). Spatial and temporal parameters of gait and continence status were recorded for each condition.
A significant reduction in gait velocity (P < 0.025) was found at the SDV compared with the PV condition. Stride length decreased significantly (P < 0.001) at the SDV compared with the FDV and PV conditions. No significant differences were found between FDV and PV conditions. In addition, the variability of gait increased significantly with respect to cadence (P < 0.05) and stride times (P < 0.05) at the SDV compared to the PV condition. This was not observed between the FDV and the PV conditions, nor the FDV and the SDV.
In healthy continent women, speed and rhythmicity of gait are different when a strong desire to void is experienced. This suggests an interaction may exist between urinary bladder control and control of gait. Further investigation is necessary to understand this relationship and begin to explain the increased risk of falls associated with urinary bladder functioning. Neurourol. Urodynam. 32: 43–47, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.