Detecting Transient Changes in Gait Using Fractal Scaling of Gait Variability in Conjunction with Gaussian Continuous Wavelet Transform

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Virginia Tech

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.

Time series analysis, trunk-mounted accelerometry, autocorrelation, Fatigue, detrended fluctuation analysis, gait analysis, Gaussian continuous wavelet transform