Research Papers

Measurement of Multi-segment Foot Joint Angles During Gait Using a Wearable System

[+] Author and Article Information
Hossein Rouhani

Julien Favre

Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Measurement, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), EPFL-STI-LMAM, Station 11, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerlandjulien.favre@epfl.ch

Xavier Crevoisier

 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology,Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne (CHUV),Avenue Pierre-Decker 4, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerlandxavier.crevoisier@chuv.ch

Kamiar Aminian

 Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Measurement,Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL),EPFL-STI-LMAM, Station 11, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerlandkamiar.aminian@epfl.ch

J Biomech Eng 134(6), 061006 (Jun 13, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006674 History: Received September 20, 2011; Revised April 15, 2012; Posted May 07, 2012; Published June 13, 2012; Online June 13, 2012

Usually the measurement of multi-segment foot and ankle complex kinematics is done with stationary motion capture devices which are limited to use in a gait laboratory. This study aimed to propose and validate a wearable system to measure the foot and ankle complex joint angles during gait in daily conditions, and then to investigate its suitability for clinical evaluations. The foot and ankle complex consisted of four segments (shank, hindfoot, forefoot, and toes), with an inertial measurement unit (3D gyroscopes and 3D accelerometers) attached to each segment. The angles between the four segments were calculated in the sagittal, coronal, and transverse planes using a new algorithm combining strap-down integration and detection of low-acceleration instants. To validate the joint angles measured by the wearable system, three subjects walked on a treadmill for five minutes at three different speeds. A camera-based stationary system that used a cluster of markers on each segment was used as a reference. To test the suitability of the system for clinical evaluation, the joint angle ranges were compared between a group of 10 healthy subjects and a group of 12 patients with ankle osteoarthritis, during two 50-m walking trials where the wearable system was attached to each subject. On average, over all joints and walking speeds, the RMS differences and correlation coefficients between the angular curves obtained using the wearable system and the stationary system were 1 deg and 0.93, respectively. Moreover, this system was able to detect significant alteration of foot and ankle function between the group of patients with ankle osteoarthritis and the group of healthy subjects. In conclusion, this wearable system was accurate and suitable for clinical evaluation when used to measure the multi-segment foot and ankle complex kinematics during long-distance walks in daily life conditions.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Portable data-logger, IMU, and IMU equipped with a rigid plate and four reflective markers. (b) IMUs attached on shank and foot segments: shank (tibia and fibula), hindfoot (calcaneus and talus), forefoot (navicular, cuboid, cuneiform, and metatarsals), and toes (phalanges). The rigid plates were used only for calibration and validation purpose.

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Figure 2

Relative joint angle curves during stance time of 3.5 km/h walks for SH-HF, HF-FF, FF-TO, and SH-FF in three anatomical planes: dorsiflexion-plantarflexion (sagittal), inversion-eversion (coronal), and internal rotation-external rotation (transverse). Gray curves correspond to the wearable system and black curves correspond to stationary system. Results are presented as mean angle curve (solid) and mean±std (dashed) over all the gait cycles of the three subjects.

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Figure 3

RMS differences (a), (b), (c) and correlation coefficients (d), (e), (f) for joint angles measured by the wearable system and the stationary system. The box-plots report the median, first and third quartiles, and the minimum and maximum whiskers for all stance phases of the three subjects collected during 5 minutes of walking. Results are presented in the sagittal (S), coronal (C), and transverse (T) planes.

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Figure 4

ROM differences (a), (b), (c) between the wearable system and the stationary system presented as box-plots (median, first and third quartiles, and the minimum and maximum whiskers) for all stance phases of all gait cycles of the three subjects during 5 min of walking. ROMs measured by the stationary system are also presented (d), (e), (f) to express the relative ROM differences between the two systems. Results are presented in the sagittal (S), coronal (C), and transverse (T) planes.




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