Stair ascending and descending are common in daily life activities which are challenging for blind individuals. Visual information plays an important role in controlling an individual’s movements. However, the relationship between visual information and stair ascending and descending is poorly understood.
The aim of this study was to investigate how blindness alters the ground reaction force (GRF) components during ascending and descending the stairs.
Ten individuals with congenital blindness and 10 able-bodied sighted individuals were served as experimental (EG) and control groups (CG), respectively. The GRFs were recorded during stair ascending and descending tasks using a portable 40 × 40 cm Kistler force plate which was placed on a firm stair. CG repeated the ascending/descending tasks in both open and closed-eyes conditions. For within and between groups comparisons the repeated measure ANOVA and MANOVA tests were used, respectively. The significance level was set at p < 0.05 for all comparisons.
In ascending task, there was not any significant between group differences on GRF components. However, closing the eyes in CG resulted in a significant decrease in some GRF components in the stair descending (p < 0.05). The GRF components of the stair descending in CG with open and closed-eyes were significantly different from those in the blind group; however, the differences were less in closed-eyes.
The GRF in the stair descent was similar in both blind and sighted individuals with closed-eyes condition, that it can increase the risk of falling in blind people. As a result, the provision of tools and equipment for the blind in descent conditions is essential.

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