Scientists to study 'Essex swagger'


Scientists have launched a project to capture the essence of the “Essex swagger” as part of an attempt to analyse local walking styles.

Medical researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford have set up a gait analysis laboratory, the first of its kind in the UK.

They are appealing for members of the public to come forward to help them detect the subtle differences in walking styles and develop better treatment for a range of patients.

The gait of Essex volunteers will be compared to samples taken by the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, highlighting the difference geographic location plays.

Dr Rajshree Mootanah, director of the medical engineering research group, believes that the people of Essex are likely to have a different gait to New Yorkers.

He said: "When we are working with patients it is important to have a reference database of 'normal' gait to compare them to.

"The only database we have is of the New York population and we believe there may be slight but still significant differences to the way our local population walks due to the different racial make-up of the two groups."

The information gathered will allow more accurate testing and analysis of patients, ranging from burns victims to those who have undergone hip or knee surgery.

Dr Mootanah said: "The volunteers will have the force of their steps measured by special pressure plates embedded in the floor while their gait will be recorded by 3D motion capture, which is similar to the systems used by the CGI departments of Hollywood studios.

"Although people will have small markers attached to the 'bony' parts of their body, such as their pelvis, feet, and shoulders, taking part in the study will be totally painless and the biomechanics data gathered will be of great value to our future work."

Volunteers must be aged over 18 and able to walk without impediment.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should email or phone 0845 1963909.