Accelerometry based assessment of gait parameters in children

Mirko Brandes, Wiebren Zijlstra, Sander Heikens, Rob van Lummel, Dieter Rosenbaum
Gait & Posture 2006, 24 (4): 482-6
The objective of this study was to examine if spatio-temporal gait parameters in healthy children can be determined from accelerations measured at the lower trunk as has been demonstrated in adults, previously. Twenty children aged 3-16 years, participated in a protocol that involved repeated walks of different distances in an indoor environment. During walking, accelerations were measured by three orthogonally mounted acceleration sensors in a small wireless device (DynaPort MiniMod) that was attached to the lower back. Based on an inverted pendulum approach, spatio-temporal gait parameters and walking distances were computed from the acceleration signals. Results were compared to video observations and known walking distances and durations. Steps were successfully detected in 99.6+/-0.6% of all observed steps (n=5554). On average, walking distance was accurately estimated (100.6+/-3.3%, range 93-106.7%). No correlation was found between the number of miscounted steps and the total number of steps or the age of the subject. It can be concluded that the use of an inverted pendulum model provides the possibility to estimate spatio-temporal gait parameters in children as well as in adults. The method allows an inexpensive and comfortable assessment of gait parameters in children, is applicable in controlled, indoor environments and could be tested for applicability under free living conditions.

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