Validity and reliability of a shoe-embedded sensor module for measuring foot progression angle during over-ground walking

Jesse M Charlton, Haisheng Xia, Peter B Shull, Michael A Hunt
Journal of Biomechanics 2019 April 17
Wearable systems are becoming increasingly popular for gait assessment outside of laboratory settings. A single shoe-embedded sensor module can measure the foot progression angle (FPA) during walking. The FPA has important clinical utility, particularly in populations with knee osteoarthritis, as it is a target for biomechanical treatments. However, the validity and the day-to-day reliability of FPA measurement using wearable systems during over-ground walking has yet to be established. Two gait analysis sessions on 20 healthy adults were conducted. During both sessions, participants performed natural over-ground walking in a motion capture laboratory and on a 100 m linear section of outdoor athletics track. FPA was measured in the laboratory via marker trajectory data, while the sensor module measured FPA during the outdoor track walking. Validity was examined by comparing the laboratory- and sensor-measured average FPA. Day-to-day reliability was examined by comparing the sensor-measured FPA between the first and second gait analysis sessions. Average absolute error between motion capture and sensor measured FPA were 1.7° and 2.1° at session 1 and 2, respectively. A Bland and Altman plot indicated no systematic bias, with 95% limit of agreement widths of 4.2° - 5.1°. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC2k ) analysis resulted in good to excellent validity (ICC = 0.89 - 0.91) and reliability (ICC = 0.95). Overall, the shoe-embedded sensor module is a valid and reliable method of measuring FPA during over-ground walking without the need for laboratory equipment.

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