Effects of thigh holster use on kinematics and kinetics of active duty police officers

  • Louise Bæk Larsen
    Corresponding author at: School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden.
    Department of Rehabilitation, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, PO Box 1026, SE 551 11 Jönköping, Sweden
    Search for articles by this author
  • Roy Tranberg
    Department of Rehabilitation, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, PO Box 1026, SE 551 11 Jönköping, Sweden

    Department of Orthopaedics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, PO Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE 413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden
    Search for articles by this author
  • Nerrolyn Ramstrand
    Department of Rehabilitation, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, PO Box 1026, SE 551 11 Jönköping, Sweden
    Search for articles by this author


      • A thigh holster has less effect on hip kinematics than a belt mounted hip holster.
      • Load carriage worn by police affects trunk rotation.
      • Ankle moments and powers are significantly affected by load carriage.



      Body armour, duty belts and belt mounted holsters are standard equipment used by the Swedish police and have been shown to affect performance of police specific tasks, to decrease mobility and to potentially influence back pain. This study aimed to investigate the effects on gait kinematics and kinetics associated with use of an alternate load carriage system incorporating a thigh holster.


      Kinematic, kinetic and temporospatial data were collected using three dimensional gait analysis. Walking tests were conducted with nineteen active duty police officers under three different load carriage conditions: a) body armour and duty belt, b) load bearing vest, body armour and thigh holster and c) no equipment (control).


      No significant differences between testing conditions were found for temporospatial parameters. Range of trunk rotation was reduced for both load carriage conditions compared to the control condition (p < 0.017). Range of hip rotation was more similar to the control condition when wearing thigh holster rather than the belt mounted hip holster (p < 0.017). Moments and powers for both left and right ankles were significantly greater for both of the load carriage conditions compared to the control condition (p < 0.017).


      This study confirms that occupational loads carried by police have a significant effect on gait kinematics and kinetics. Although small differences were observed between the two load carriage conditions investigated in this study, results do not overwhelmingly support selection of one design over the other.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Clinical Biomechanics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Arazpour M.
        • Ahmadi F.
        • Bahramizadeh M.
        • Samadian M.
        • Mousavi M.E.
        • Bani M.A.
        • Hutchins S.W.
        Evaluation of gait symmetry in poliomyelitis subjects: comparison of a conventional knee-ankle-foot orthosis and a new powered knee-ankle-foot orthosis.
        Prosthetics Orthot. Int. 2015;
        • Birrell S.A.
        • Haslam R.A.
        The effect of load distribution within military load carriage systems on the kinetics of human gait.
        Appl. Ergon. 2010; 41: 585-590
        • Birrell S.A.
        • Hooper R.H.
        • Haslam R.A.
        The effect of military load carriage on ground reaction forces.
        Gait Posture. 2007; 26: 611-614
        • Blazkiewicz M.
        • Wiszomirska I.
        • Wit A.
        Comparison of four methods of calculating the symmetry of spatial–temporal parameters of gait.
        Acta Bioeng. Biomech. 2014; 16: 29-35
        • Borhani M.
        • McGregor A.H.
        • Bull A.M.
        An alternative technical marker set for the pelvis is more repeatable than the standard pelvic marker set.
        Gait Posture. 2013; 38: 1032-1037
        • Brown J.J.
        • Wells G.A.
        • Trottier A.J.
        • Bonneau J.
        • Ferris B.
        Back pain in a large Canadian police force.
        Spine. 1998; 23: 821-827
        • Campbell A.
        • Roelofs A.
        • Davey P.
        • Straker L.
        Response time, pistol fire position variability, and pistol draw success rates for hip and thigh holsters.
        Hum. Factors. 2013; 55: 425-434
        • Cappozzo A.
        • Cappello A.
        • Della Croce U.
        • Pensalfini F.
        Surface-marker cluster design criteria for 3-D bone movement reconstruction.
        IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 1997; 44: 1165-1174
        • Dempsey P.C.
        • Handcock P.J.
        • Rehrer N.J.
        Impact of police body armour and equipment on mobility.
        Appl. Ergon. 2013; 44: 957-961
        • Elgmark E.
        • Bæk Larsen L.
        • Tranberg R.
        • Ramstrand N.
        Polisens arbetsmiljö 2013-Delrapport 2(3).
        Jönköping University, Jönköping2013
        • Golriz S.
        • Walker B.
        Can load carriage system weight, design and placement affect pain and discomfort? A systematic review.
        J. Back Musculoskelet. Rehabil. 2011; 24: 1-16
        • Knapik J.
        • Harman E.
        • Reynolds K.
        Load carriage using packs: a review of physiological, biomechanical and medical aspects.
        Appl. Ergon. 1996; 27: 207-216
        • LaFiandra M.
        • Wagenaar R.C.
        • Holt K.G.
        • Obusek J.P.
        How do load carriage and walking speed influence trunk coordination and stride parameters?.
        J. Biomech. 2003; 36: 87-95
        • Leardini A.
        • Chiari L.
        • Croce U.D.
        • Cappozzo A.
        Human movement analysis using stereophotogrammetry: part 3. Soft tissue artifact assessment and compensation.
        Gait Posture. 2005; 21: 212-225
        • Lerner Z.F.
        • Board W.J.
        • Browning R.C.
        Effects of obesity on lower extremity muscle function during walking at two speeds.
        Gait Posture. 2014; 39: 978-984
        • Lewinski W.J.
        • Dysterheft J.L.
        • Dicks N.D.
        • Pettitt R.W.
        The influence of officer equipment and protection on short sprinting performance.
        Appl. Ergon. 2015; 47: 65-71
        • Lobb B.
        Load carriage for fun: a survey of New Zealand trampers, their activities and injuries.
        Appl. Ergon. 2004; 35: 541-547
        • McGinley J.L.
        • Baker R.
        • Wolfe R.
        • Morris M.E.
        The reliability of three-dimensional kinematic gait measurements: a systematic review.
        Gait Posture. 2009; 29: 360-369
        • Orr R.M.
        • Pope R.
        • Johnston V.
        • Coyle J.
        Soldier occupational load carriage: a narrative review of associated injuries.
        Int. J. Inj. Control Saf. Promot. 2014; 21: 388-396
        • Petersen A.O.
        • Comins J.
        • Alkjær T.
        Assessment of gait symmetry in transfemoral amputees using C-leg compared with 3R60 prosthetic knees.
        J. Prosthetics Orthot. 2010; 22: 106-112
        • Ralston H.J.
        Energy-speed relation and optimal speed during level walking.
        Int. Z. Angew. Physiol. 1958; 17: 277-283
        • Ramstrand N.
        • Larsen L.B.
        Musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace: perceptions of Swedish police.
        Int. J. Police Sci. Mgmt. 2012; 14: 334
        • Ramstrand N.
        • Zugner R.
        • Larsen L.B.
        • Tranberg R.
        Evaluation of load carriage systems used by active duty police officers: relative effects on walking patterns and perceived comfort.
        Appl. Ergon. 2016; 53: 36-43
        • Robinson R.O.
        • Herzog W.
        • Nigg B.M.
        Use of force platform variables to quantify the effects of chiropractic manipulation on gait symmetry.
        J. Manip. Physiol. Ther. 1987; 10: 172-176
        • Salvendy G.
        Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics.
        John Wiley & Sons, 2012
        • Stubbs D.
        • David G.
        • Woods V.
        • Beards S.
        Problems associated with police equipment carriage with body armour, including driving.
        Contemp. Ergon. 2008; 2008: 23