Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Locomotion; Orthopedic Equipment


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to compare lower extremity muscle activity along with hip and knee ROM in an elderly population on stair ascent and descent using the EZ-StepTM and Quad-StepTM in comparison to traditional stair climbing.

Subjects: Twenty nine male and female adults volunteered for this study. Inclusion criteria included those 65 years of age and older, ability to climb three flights of standard stairs, and upper extremity strength to be able to manipulate the Quad-Step TM.

Instrumentation: The EZ-StepTM and Quad-StepTM are devices that decrease stair step height by one-half. The EMG activity and ROM was recorded using a Noraxon TeleMy0900 telemetry unit. The goniometers that were used were Biometrics SG110 twin axis goniometers.

Procedure: EMG activity was recorded with surface electrodes over the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, and gastrocnemius. Electrogoniometers were placed at the knee and hip to record ROM during the stair climbing activities. There were three randomly selected stair-climbing trials in the study: 1) Quad-StepTM, 2) EZ-StepTM, and 3) traditional stairs.

Data Analysis: A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the data collected. The significance was set at an alpha level of .05.

Results: The study found significantly less EMG activity in all four muscles with the EZ-Step TM and Quad-Step TM devices during stair ascent and stair descent, except for the BF with the use of the Quad-Step TM during stair descent. A significant difference in hip ROM was found for stair ascent, but not forstair descent. On both stair ascent and descent, significantly less knee ROM was required.

Conclusion and Clinical Implication: The EZ-Step 1M and Quad-Step 1M may make stair climbing easier for older individuals who have difficulty with this task.