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A feasibility study for gait training with foot-floor contact angle feedback
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan; Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6507-2329
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh.
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2019 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background and Aim: Slip events are responsible for up to 20% of falls and often result in severe injuries, and significant mortality and morbidity. Prior research has revealed several factors that increase the likelihood of a slip event including walking with a large foot-floor contact angle (FFCA) at heel-strike (>20°). Numerous feedback systems leveraging wearable sensors that measure gait-related kinematic or kinetic data have been used to improve balance and gait performance. In this feasibility study we demonstrated the use of a wearable feedback device for modifying FFCA during treadmill walking.

Methods: Ten healthy participants (3 females and 7 males, aged 22.0±1.6 years) with fewer than 75% of baseline overground FFCA values falling within a range of 10-20° were recruited for inclusion in the study. A feedback system comprising two IMUs attached to the mid-foot regions of participants' dominant and non-dominant feet to measure FFCA during heel strike events, a laptop for calculating FFCA, and speakers for providing auditory cues to participants was used. Participants received cues during the non-dominant foot stance phase if the average of the two preceding dominant FFCAs was outside of the target range (10-20°). Participants performed 2-min baseline and post-training treadmill trials with a speed of 1.35 m/s prior to and following four 4-min treadmill training trials with FFCA feedback. The percentage of FFCAs within the target range, and the mean and variability of FFCAs were computed for baseline, training, and post-training trials, and one-way repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc comparisons were performed. The significance level was 0.05.

Results: Participants increased their percentage of FFCAs within the target range when feedback was provided during the training trials compared to the no feedback condition during the baseline trials (66.9% vs. 53.9%, P=0.028). Increased percentages of FFCAs within the target range were also observed during the post-training trials (75.8% vs. 53.9%, P=0.027). The average FFCA increased from 9.9° during baseline trials to 13.7° during training trials (P=0.028). The FFCAs were less variable during the training (P=0.028) and post-training (P=0.028) trials compared to the baseline trials.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that participants could use the auditory cues to dynamically adjust their FFCAs while walking on a treadmill and that the training effects were present for a short period of time following the completion of the training. The FFCA is one of several gait parameters that could be used for gait training purposes to potentially reduce the likelihood of a slip event. Future work should examine the effects of gait training with FFCA feedback on the incidence and severity of slips, and on other gait parameters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Medical Equipment Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-42863OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-42863DiVA, id: diva2:1285772
Conference
International Society of Posture and Gait Research (ISPGR) World Congress 2019, June 30 – July 4, Edinburgh, Scotland
Available from: 2019-02-05 Created: 2019-02-05 Last updated: 2019-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Ma, Christina Zong-Hao

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