Detecting Transient Changes in Gait Using Fractal Scaling of Gait Variability in Conjunction with Gaussian Continuous Wavelet Transform
Jaskowak, Daniel Joseph
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Accelerometer data can be analyzed using a variety of methods which are effective in the clinical setting. Time-series analysis is used to analyze spatiotemporal variables in various populations. More recently, investigators have focused on gait complexity and the structure of spatiotemporal variations during walking and running. This study evaluated the use of time-series analyses to determine gait parameters during running. Subjects were college-age female soccer players. Accelerometer data were collected using GPS-embedded trunk-mounted accelerometers. Customized Matlab® programs were developed that included Gaussian continuous wavelet transform (CWT) to determine spatiotemporal characteristics, detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) to examine gait complexity and autocorrelation analyses (ACF) to assess gait regularity. Reliability was examined using repeated running efforts and intraclass correlation. Proof of concept was determined by examining differences in each variable between various running speeds. Applicability was established by examining gait before and after fatiguing activity. The results showed most variables had excellent reliability. Test-retest R2 values for these variables ranged from 0.8 to 1.0. Low reliability was seen in bilateral comparisons of gait symmetry. Increases in running speed resulted in expected changes in spatiotemporal and acceleration variables. Fatiguing exercise had minimal effects on spatiotemporal variables but resulted in noticeable declines in complexity. This investigation shows that GPS-embedded trunk-mounted accelerometers can be effectively used to assess running gait. CWT and DFA yield reliable measures of spatiotemporal characteristics of gait and gait complexity. The effects of running speed and fatigue on these variables provides proof of concepts and applicability for this analytical approach.
General Audience Abstract
Fitness trackers have become widely accessible and easy to use. So much so that athletic teams have been using them to track activity throughout the season. Researchers are able to manipulate data generated from the fitness monitors to assess many different variables including gait. Monitoring gait may generate important information about the condition of the individual. As a person fatigues, running form is theorized to breakdown, which increases injury risk. Therefore the ability to monitor gait may be advantageous in preventing injury. The purpose of this study is to show that the methods in this study are reproducible, respond reasonably to changes in speed, and to observe the changes of gait in the presence of fatigue or on tired legs. Three analyses are used in this study. The first method called autocorrelation, overlays acceleration signals of consecutive foot strikes, and determines the similarity between them. The second method utilizes a wave transformation technique that is able to determine foot contact times. The final method attempts to determine any pattern in the running stride. This method looks for changes in the structure of the pattern. Less structure would indicate a stride that is fatigued. The results showed that the methods of gait analysis used in this study were reproducible and responded appropriately with changes in speed. Small changes in gait were observed due to the presence of fatigue. Further investigation into the use of these methods to determine changes in gait due to the presence of fatigue are warranted.
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