We introduce the ‘Index of Stability’, i.e., ISL(n) and ISU(n), to characterize the risk of backward and forward loss-of-balance, respectively, during one isolated step during gait (n is the step index). ISL(n) (or ISU(n)) are defined as follows (Fig. 2):

The shortest distance, a positive value, from the trajectory of the COM state to the lower (or upper) limit of the ExFSR, if the COM state lies inside the ExFSR near its lower (or upper) limit.

The longest distance, a negative value, from the trajectory of the COM state to the lower (or upper) limit of the ExFSR, if the COM state lies outside the lower (or upper) limit of the ExFSR.

IS(n) (i.e., ISL(n) or ISU(n)) depends on both the COM position and velocity, and illustrates how close the individual can be to loss-of-balance for the duration of a step. When IS(n) is a positive value, the smaller the IS(n), the more probable the loss-of-balance. A negative IS(n) is indicative of temporary loss-of-balance. Based on the physiological condition of the walker and the value of the negative IS(n), the temporary loss-of-balance can either be recovered or lead to an incidence of falling.

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