Spatio-temporal gait analysis in children with cerebral palsy using, foot-worn inertial sensors

A Brégou Bourgeois, B Mariani, K Aminian, P Y Zambelli, C J Newman
Gait & Posture 2014, 39 (1): 436-42
A child's natural gait pattern may be affected by the gait laboratory environment. Wearable devices using body-worn sensors have been developed for gait analysis. The purpose of this study was to validate and explore the use of foot-worn inertial sensors for the measurement of selected spatio-temporal parameters, based on the 3D foot trajectory, in independently walking children with cerebral palsy (CP). We performed a case control study with 14 children with CP aged 6-15 years old and 15 age-matched controls. Accuracy and precision of the foot-worn device were measured using an optical motion capture system as the reference system. Mean accuracy ± precision for both groups was 3.4 ± 4.6 cm for stride length, 4.3 ± 4.2 cm/s for speed and 0.5 ± 2.9° for strike angle. Longer stance and shorter swing phases with an increase in double support were observed in children with CP (p=0.001). Stride length, speed and peak angular velocity during swing were decreased in paretic limbs, with significant differences in strike and lift-off angles. Children with cerebral palsy showed significantly higher inter-stride variability (measured by their coefficient of variation) for speed, stride length, swing and stance. During turning trajectories speed and stride length decreased significantly (p<0.01) for both groups, whereas stance increased significantly (p<0.01) in CP children only. Foot-worn inertial sensors allowed us to analyze gait spatiotemporal data outside a laboratory environment with good accuracy and precision and congruent results with what is known of gait variations during linear walking in children with CP.

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