Spatio-temporal parameters of gait measured by an ambulatory system using miniature gyroscopes
In this study we describe an ambulatory system for estimation of spatio-temporal parameters during long periods of walking. This original method based on wavelet analysis is proposed to compute the values of temporal gait parameters from the angular velocity of lower limbs. Based on a mechanical model, the medio-lateral rotation of the lower limbs during stance and swing, the stride length and velocity are estimated by integration of the angular velocity. Measurement's accuracy was assessed using as a criterion standard the information provided by foot pressure sensors. To assess the accuracy of the method on a broad range of performance for each gait parameter, we gathered data from young and elderly subjects. No significant error was observed for toe-off detection, while a slight systematic delay (10 ms on average) existed between heelstrike obtained from gyroscopes and footswitch. There was no significant difference between actual spatial parameters (stride length and velocity) and their estimated values. Errors for velocity and stride length estimations were 0.06 m/s and 0.07 in, respectively. This system is light, portable, inexpensive and does not provoke any discomfort to Subjects. It can be carried for long periods of time, thus providing new longitudinal information such as stride-to-stride variability of gait. Several clinical applications can be proposed such as outcome evaluation after total knee or hip replacement, external prosthesis adjustment for amputees, monitoring of rehabilitation progress, gait analysis in neurological diseases, and fall risk estimation in elderly. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.