gait analysis

Spatiotemporal gait parameters are affected by footwear stiffness in toddler-aged children.

Footwear plays a significant role in, and can influence children’s gait. Footwear type is especially important as a child grows and develops from a novice to an expert walker. Compared to barefoot walking, children generally have increased spatiotemporal (ST) gait parameters while walking with footwear. Gait variability has also shown to be affected by footwear. The degree of stiffness in footwear could have a large influence on children’s gait and variability. This study investigated effects of footwear stiffness on ST gait parameters and gait variability in novice walkers. Children with an average age of 33.3 ( 7.0) months participated in a single data collection. Heel and toe marker positions were acquired for one minute of walking per condition. Participants walked on the treadmill in three levels of footwear stiffness (rigid: hard-soled stiff shoe, semi-rigid: EVA sole athletic shoe, compliant: moccasin soft-sole shoe) and barefoot. ST gait parameters and gait variability were calculated for each condition using marker. and treadmill forces. ST parameters all increased in the rigid and semi-rigid footwear conditions compared to soft-sole and barefoot. Interestingly, there were no differences between barefoot and wearing a moccasin for any of the ST variables. There were no differences in SD and COV between any of the footwear conditions. The moccasin shoe promotes walking most similar to normal barefoot walking. Standard measures of variability failed to detect differences between footwear conditions. Further investigation into different measurements is necessary to parse out what effect footwear has on children’s gait variability.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait

Effect of low-pass filter cutoff frequencies on joint moments in walking

Calculating and interpreting joint moments using marker position and ground reaction force (GRF) data is a fundamental part of gait biomechanics research. Due to noise in marker positions, these data are low-pass filtered prior to performing inverse dynamics. Traditionally, kinematic data are filtered at low cutoff frequencies (~6 Hz) and kinetic data are filtered at high frequencies (~30-100 Hz). This technique can result in joint moment impact peaks, particularly during high-impact movements. Filtering marker and GRF data at the same cutoff frequency has been suggested to attenuate these impact artefacts. The effect of various filtering approaches on joint moments in walking is unknown. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of low-pass filtering cutoff frequencies on joint moments during walking. We hypothesized that filtering would not affect peak joint moments during walking due to smaller violations of the rigid body assumption compared to high-impact movements. Kinetic and kinematic data were collected for twenty-four health adults walking at self-selected speed. Marker position and GRF were smoothed using a 4th-order dual-pass Butterworth filter with cutoff frequencies of 6/45 Hz, 6/6 Hz, 10/10 Hz, for markers and GRF, respectively. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA tested for the effect of filter frequency on peak hip and knee joint moments. Peak hip and knee moments were greater when filtered at 10/10 Hz compared to 6/45 Hz. Although there were differences between cutoff frequency conditions, the effect sizes were small, suggesting that the differences are not large enough to have a meaningful effect.
Listed In: Biomechanics

'Moving Forward': Gait, Cognition and Associated Risk Factors: Insights from SHARE and TILDA

The established pathway of cognitive decline identifies Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) as a common pre-dementia syndrome. As MCI can represent the endpoint of cognitive decline or a transient state, more predictive diagnostic tools are required. A new pre-dementia syndrome, Motoric Cognitive Risk (MCR) syndrome, has been proposed. It is defined by slow gait and cognitive complaints but absence of dementia and mobility disability. MCR aims to improve on the predictive power of MCI, this study aims to explore it’s claim. Associations have been uncovered between differing cognitive domains and specific characteristics of gait. Leveraging the gait-cognitive function relationship is a novel approach to potentially highlighting those experiencing cognitive decline. However, the diagnostic tool of MCR is a new construct and currently imperfect, its efficacy not fully validated and sensitivity for dementia prediction relatively unknown. Reliable data on prevalence and risk factors help contribute to this validation process. In this presentation prevalence data for a multi-country aging study and a nationally representative community dwelling aging study will be presented. The variables available in both datasets which will be of interest in this study include; Gait Speed, Global Cognition (Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score), Presence of Cognitive Complaints, Age, Body Mass Index (BMI), Dementia diagnosis (reported or imputed) and Waist Circumference. This study will inform the following research project, which will aim to assess whether specific gait components or combinations alone are better than the MCR construct in their association to cognitive decline.
Listed In: Gait, Neuroscience

Effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation on Gait Kinetics in Individuals with Experimentally Induced Knee Joint Pain

Background: Knee joint pain (KJP) independently alters motor function and gait mechanics, and these alterations may accelerate chronic knee joint disease. While TENS restores motor function deficits, it is unclear whether TENS restores compensatory gait mechanics. The purpose was to examine the effects of KJP on lower-extremity joint moments, and the effects of TENS on the aforementioned variables. We hypothesized that KJP will result in altered gait patterns, and TENS will help restore these mechanical alterations. Methods: We randomly selected 15 subjects for the TENS group, after which subjects were matched for the placebo group. Subjects underwent 3 sessions (hypertonic, isotonic, control). A 20-gauge flexible catheter was inserted into the right infrapatellar fat pad, and an infusion pump infused a saline of 0.154 mL•min¯¹ for 50 min (total = 7.7 mL). A TENS protocol was set at a biphasic mode with 120 µs and 180 Hz for 20 min. To blind placebo treatment, subjects in the placebo group was told that an electrical stimulation had been set to sub-sensory level. High-speed video (240 Hz) and an instrumented treadmill (1200 Hz) were used for gait analysis. Functional analysis of variance were used to evaluate differences between groups over time for joint moments. The mean curve with 95% CIs is represented by polynomial functions, showing us the entire stance, rather than identifying discrete peak points. If 95% CIs did not cross zero, significant difference existed (P < 0.05). Discussion: KJP independently increase internal knee varus moments, which were consistent with previous finding using patients with osteoarthritic knee pain. These compensatory gait patterns may be a result of a pain-avoidance motor deficits strategies. Since observed patterns can create altered mechanical and biological stress patterns on articular surface, it may increase the risk of degenerative knee disease. However, attempting to reduce perceived pain and increase neuron activation through TENS can help overcome deficits in knee and hip joint moments.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Sports Science

Muscle force prediction of the lower limb compared to surface EMG at different walking speeds in individual healthy subjects.

BACKROUND: Recent developments in modelling have made it easier to use muscle force predictions to augment clinical gait analysis and enhance clinical decision making. OpenSim claims to provide a straight forward, standardised pipeline (SimTrack) to predict muscle forces implemented in routine processing. This project aims to test SimTrack’s potential in the context of clinical gait analysis by developing a standardised protocol which compares predicted muscle forces with surface EMG at a range of walking speeds. METHODS: 10 healthy participants walked at 3 different speeds (comfortable, ±20%). Kinematics, kinetics and surface EMG of the lower limb were captured. Joint angles and ground reaction forces serve as inputs to predict muscle forces using computed muscle control (CMC) within SimTrack. Predicted muscle forces were compared with EMG to validate the model outputs. RESULTS: Agreement between force prediction and EMG varies between muscles. Some muscles show a general agreement and similar variation with walking speed, others show large unexpected differences between CMC outputs and observed EMG. DISCUSSION: These results suggest that this protocol is running in general. For most walking speeds, CMC muscle forces can be predicted within a timeframe appropriate for clinical purposes. However using the default settings, the model predictions do not agree with EMG measurements. Furthermore, during pilot testing of quicker walking speeds (up to +40%) CMC crashed due the chosen musculoskeletal model being too weak. These findings suggest the need of either different generic parameters or subject specific parameters to obtain valid results. Work is continuing to identify these.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Other

Effect of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation on Gait Kinematics in Subjects with Anterior Knee Pain

Knee pain is 1 of 5 leading causes of disability by altering lower-extremity muscle function and gait mechanics. While transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) mitigates deficits of muscle function due to pain, it is unclear whether TENS improves gait mechanics. Each of 15 participant (24±3yrs, 71±12kg, 178±7cm) was assigned to the TENS or matched placebo group (23±2yrs, 72±14kg, 177±9cm). Participants underwent 3 different experimental saline infusion sessions (hypertonic, isotonic, control) in a counterbalanced order, separated by 48-h. Hypertonic (5% NaCl) or isotonic (0.9% NaCl) saline was infused into the infrapatellar fat pad for 50-min. No infusion was administered to the control session. Participants and investigators were blinded to the saline solution. A 20-min TENS or placebo treatment was administered, which was blinded to participants. Gait kinematic data were collected using the high-speed video (240 Hz) and force-sending tandem treadmill (1200 Hz) at each time interval (baseline, infusion, treatment, post-treatment). Functional ANOVA (α=0.05) were used to evaluate difference between 2 groups (TENS, placebo) over time. Pairwise comparison functions with 95% confidence interval were plotted to determine specific difference. Hypertonic saline infusion (pain) resulted in increased (1) ankle dorsiflexion (38-75% of stance), (2) knee valgus (20-40%), (3) knee flexion (40-90%), (4) hip adduction (72-100%), (5) hip flexion (50-90%). However, there was no group x time interaction for all kinematics. Altered gait strategies due to pain may play a role in long-term compensation that could have consequences for the joint. TENS treatment, however, did not acutely reduce the deficits in aforementioned kinematic variables.

Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Neuroscience, Physical Therapy

Joint loading during graded walking with different prostheses - a case study

For lower limb amputees graded walking imposes a high level of motor ability, due to the missing proprioceptive feedback of the limb, and the necessary compensation mechanisms. In order to facilitate gait a focus in prosthesis research is the development of the prostheses ankle joints from rigid to moveable. Therefore, the aim of this case study was to analyse the effects of three different prostheses with a rigid and a moveable ankle joint during graded walking of a unilateral amputee. One male unilateral transfemoral amputee was recruited for this study and a comparison of following three prostheses (endolite, Germany) was performed: Elan (movable ankle joint with flexible resistance), Echelon (movable ankle joint with steady resistance) and Esprit (rigid ankle joint). Kinematic (12 cameras, Vicon, UK, 250 Hz) and kinetic (2 force plates, AMTI, MA, 1000 Hz) data were recorded during self-paced walking on a 6 m ramp, which was set to the inclinations of -12°, -4°, 0°, 4° and 12°. Following gait parameters, ground reaction forces, joint angles and joint moments were calculated. Gait parameters, ground reaction forces and joint angles were marginally influenced by the different prosthetic designs, but major changes occurred on the joint moment level. The use of the rigid ankle prosthesis Esprit induced up to 10 times higher joint moments compared to the moveable ankle joint prostheses. This case study showed that a moveable ankle joint can reduce the joint moments during graded walking, which might be advantageous to use for transfemoral amputees in graded walking.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait