View Full Version : Summary "walkway surfacing"

Knutson, Loretta M
01-29-2003, 07:38 AM
Walkway Query

Fri 1/17/2003 11:33 AM

I would like to know if someone has summarized the various ways to
surface a 4 inch raised walkway constructed from 4x8 foot plywood
sheets. There is one force plate centered in one section of the
walkway. We realize there are pros and cons of linoleum, tile squares,
carpet, and roughened paint but would like to hear from others on what
they have experienced is best. Thanks!

Loretta M. Knutson, PhD, PT, PCS

Professor, Physical Therapy

Southwest Missouri State University

901 South National Avenue

Springfield, MO 65804

ph 417/836-8728 fax 6229


1. Fri 1/17/2003 12:45 PM

Hi Loretta

I have JUST acquired a force plate myself and am in this same situation.
We haven't built our walkway yet - but it has been suggested to me to
use solid doors and 2x4s. The doors would need the cookie-cutter
imprint of the force plate cut out of them (save this piece in case you
reconfigure your walkway later.). Good Luck and I look forward to the


Monique Butcher PhD ATC/L

Assoc. Professor, Athletic Training

Coordinator, Graduate Biomechanics,

Dept. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Barry University

11300 NE 2nd Ave.

Miami Shores, FL 33161

phone: (305) 899-3064 fax: (305) 899-4809


2. Fri 1/17/2003 12:52 PM

Hi Loretta -

I have what is basically industrial grade linoleum tile squares in my
lab which our building maintenance crew insists on polishing and waxing.
For some undergraduate labs where things are rolling or sliding this is
fine. I have real trouble, however, when filming. The glare off of my
floor presents serious light pollution when I am filming from overhead
and moderate light pollution at other levels. I would love to have a
less shiny surface. It is critical not only to consider the force plate
and the resiliency of the surface, but also the effect of the flooring
on the lighting. That's my two cents worth on flooring.

Nancy Hamilton, Ph.D.

University of Northern Iowa

3. Fri 1/17/2003 1:02 PM


I made a raised walkway and just left it bare wood ( just sanded off the
rough spots) - this works out well cause we can draw on it make marks
and easily attach things if we need to. I made it by building 4X4
sections which are clamped together - this also makes it portable.

Kevin McQuade ( from Iowa)


4. Fri 1/17/2003 1:59 PM

Hello Loretta

I can't say if someone has surmised the various floors but I know there
was a strong push at one time to follow some DIN standards for flooring.
It started in the basketball arena and I started to quantify, friction,
resilience etc. After I left that project there was interest in taking
it farther and doing such measurements on other flooring. This work was
being done by a Dr Gopal Jayaraman, Dr Jay for short at Michigan
Technological University. He may have more info.


George J Iwanski

5. Fri 1/17/2003 3:48 PM


Our walkway is surfaced with a non-glossy linoleum which works fine
(sheets, not individual tiles). Two issues come to mind. First, make
sure that the surface is not the least bit shiny as the reflection seen
by your cameras will drive you crazy. Second, consider the temperature
of the surface, as a cold surface may tend to increase tone in subjects
with spasticity. This is also relevant to the area around the walkway,
as you will prepare a subject next to the walkway prior to the trials.
If the floor itself is cold (as our is, unfortunately) it can produce a
false picture of the walking pattern because of the cold-induced
increased tone.


Barbara Ramage, PhD PT

McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research University of

6. Fri 1/17/2003 6:12 PM

Dear Loretta..

This won't answer your question but it will offer an alternative ..
avoid making a decision indefinitely! We have a different focus (sports)
but a similar setup. We decided not to commit to a single surface.
Instead our walk/runways are covered with 8' x 4' surfacing panels that
are interchangeable. They are attached to the base with screws. Storing
and swapping the surfaces is a pain, but we change them only rarely. We
have a rubber track-like surface for everyday use, but can switch to
linoleum, wood basketball flooring or even artificial turf if we need

We did try non-slip paint but replaced it because any unevenness in the
underlying structure can be felt. I would not recommend thin carpeting
for the same reason.

With best regards,

Martyn R. Shorten, Ph.D. TEL:+1 (503) 452-0350

BioMechanica, LLC. FAX:+1 (503) 452-0345

425 SE Ninth Ave. Portland, OR 97214, USA

7. Fri 1/17/2003 2:50 PM

Hi Loretta,

We built a raised walkway (4 x 8 sections....total length is 32') and
have embedded two force plates. We have surfaced it with a standard
(relatively inexpensive) thin indoor/outdoor carpet that has a tight
weave. The same carpet is attached to the surface of each of the force
plates. It works fine for almost all applications (including walking,
jogging, balance, etc.) The only time we have felt the need to remove
the carpet from the plates has been for some very dynamic landing
activities. However, this did not necessitate removing it from the
surrounding walkway. It was cheap, easy to install, and has worked
well. The only problem has been with some fraying along the edges of
the area that has been cut out to accommodate the force plates. I
suspect that this could be eliminated with a professional job that
somehow seals those edges. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best Wishes

Chuck Armstrong - University of Toledo

8. Sun 1/19/2003 3:42 AM


I read your posting the other day. I posted a question on biomch-L a
while back concerning targeting and slipping on our force platforms. You
can refer to my question
You can also read the summary I posted at
http://isb.ri.ccf.org/biomch-l/. Search Dan Ramsey and you will come
across the summary. I hope this may help.


Dan (Stockholm)

9. Sun 1/19/2003 7:50 PM


The project for my master's thesis involved the use of a walkway such as
this. It was originally covered with linoleum material which was fine
except that it was too shiny for use in motion analysis because it
caused some reflection from the markers. We painted it with a dull
black paint with sand mixed in to insure good traction. This worked
quite well and has proven pretty durable. We did have to lightly sand
and then use a primer first on the linoleum to insure good bonding of
the paint but other than that the process was straightforward. We also
put black duct tape on the force plate in the center to help reduce
reflection or glare. I would recommend this method because it does a
great job of dulling any reflections and also the sand in the paint
provides excellent traction which was particularly important for our
study since it involved the use of an assistive device. Good luck with
your project.

Bryon Horn

Ball State University

School of Physical Education




Thanks for your input! We are considering the textured paint. Did you
cover the forceplate fully with duct tape? Doesn't it peel away and
become sticky? Our plate does not seem to give off glare. Perhaps you
are saying you used the duct tape to match the black paint on the
walkway so you didn't have "targeting" of the forceplate - is that

Loretta M. Knutson, PhD, PT, PCS


You're welcome. We taped the plate for both reasons really. The tape
held up quite well - no problems with it peeling up or becoming sticky
which surprised me also. We were using very bright lights which were
pointed downward and centered on the plate. We also have windows in our
lab which are about 12-15 feet up so when it is sunny they produce a lot
of glare on the shiny floor or anything else. For these reasons you may
not have near the glare problem that we did. We had to lay black towels
on the floor at times and move them as the sun moved. Ah, the joys of
motion analysis. Let me know if you have any further questions I might
be able to answer. What is the nature of your research if I may ask?


10. Tue 1/21/2003 10:30 AM

Dear Dr. Knutson,

I am very interested in your question. Could you please send me any
replies that you get? I am running iguanas on a 18" wide by 25ft long
trackway, and have also wondered what to do. I tried simply gluing
insect screening down, but this did not give enough traction. I now use
indoor/outdoor carpeting, which is great for comfortable running, but I
want to add a forceplate to the trackway and do not know if it is OK to
put the carpet on the forceplate.



Marguerite A. Butler

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of Tennessee

569 Dabney Hall

Knoxville, TN 37996-1610

Phone: 865-974-7894 FAX: 865-974-3067


Loretta M. Knutson, PhD, PT, PCS

Professor, Physical Therapy

Southwest Missouri State University

901 South National Avenue

Springfield, MO 65804

ph 417/836-8728 fax 6229

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