Regaining and developing walking ability after limb amputation is a major issue for lower limb amputees’ (LLA) independence and daily life activities. In this context, clinical gait assessments are necessary to monitor LLA’s gait function. However, gait spatiotemporal parameters need to be measured in order to efficiently identify gait abnormalities. Wearable inertial sensors (IMU) enable clinicians and researchers to easily study spatiotemporal gait parameters in different environments with different populations such as LLA. IMU systems might be a promising tool for clinical gait assessment.
In a recent study, 15 LLA have been included in a study cohort during which they performed a 6-minute walk test (6MWT) wearing IMU (Physilog®) on both feet. In addition to the clinical score, spatiotemporal gait features (i.e. speed, cadence, stance time, foot flat ratio, minimum toe clearance) were recorded during the whole 6MWT. Results showed that the minimum toe clearance and stance phase variability were significantly different over the 6MWT, and that cadence and speed variations were significantly different between amputated and non-amputated legs. These spatiotemporal parameters provide interesting information to prevent future mobility problems, to assess fall risk and monitor LLA improvements.
This study highlights an increased interest to perform instrumentalized clinical gait assessment with wearable IMU systems. Integrating quantitative gait analysis to clinical assessments might help clinicians to better understand gait abnormalities, refine their interventions and adjust more efficiently patients’ treatments.
This study was jointly conducted by Sarah Beausoleil a,b, Ludovic Miramand a,b, Katia Turcota,b,