Date of Award

2014

Document type

Thesis

Degree Name

MSc by research (Master of Science by research)

First Supervisor

Dr Frances Horgan

Second Supervisor

Louise Keating

Funder/Sponsor

Science Foundatin Ireland

Keywords

Gait, Running

Abstract

Introduction: The use of in-shoe plantar pressure measurement systems is a relatively recent alternative to traditional force plate platforms for gait analysis. However, a limitation of these commercial devices is the use of wires to transmit data from the foot sensor to an on-body data logger and from there to a computer.

Aims and Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to assess the impact of a wireless prototype footwear telemetry antenna system on gait and running characteristics. The secondary aim of this study was to assess the impact of the FScan plantar pressure measurement system on gait and running characteristics. The impact of these technologies on gait characteristics was tested on a population of healthy adults, and a community-dwelling elderly population at low risk of falling. The impact of these technologies on running characteristics was tested on a population of healthy adults only.

Methods: A same-subject repeated measures experimental design was used for both phases of this study. The first phase of this study examined the impact of both technologies on gait and running characteristics in an injury-free adult population, while the second phase examined the impact of both technologies on gait characteristics in a community-dwelling elderly population at low risk of falling. Healthy adult subjects (n = 26) were recruited from the staff and student population at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), sixteen of whom participated in the gait arm of this study and ten of whom participated in the running arm of this study. Community-dwelling subjects at low risk of falling (n = 16) were also recruited from a local retirement group centre and participated in the gait arm of this study. A Vicon motion analysis system was used to capture and analyse gait and running data under three counterbalanced test conditions; 1. Walking or running with no device attached to the body; 2. Walking or running wearing the F-Scan system and 3. Walking or running wearing the prototype system.

Results: There were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the spatiotemporal characteristics of healthy adults' gait and running when wearing the prototype footwear telemetry antenna system was compared to having no device attached to the body. There were no significant differences in the spatiotemporal characteristics of gait in elderly community-dwelling individuals at low risk of falling when walking with the prototype system was compared to walking with no attached device for all parameters (p > 0.08). There were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the spatiotemporal characteristics of healthy adults' gait and running when wearing the F-Scan system was compared to having no device attached to the body. It was also found that there were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the spatiotemporal characteristics of gait in elderly community-dwelling individuals at low risk of falling when walking with the F-Scan system was compared to walking with no attached device. Although significant differences were found when comparing both devices to walking or running with no attached device, the magnitude of these differences was found to be very small, and therefore, not clinically meaningful.

Conclusions and Implications: The prototype footwear telemetry antenna system did not hinder gait or running and therefore, has the potential to be a plantar pressure measurement device with considerable clinical and research utility given the lack of wires necessary to transmit data from ankle to waist or computer. However, further research is necessary to validate this system by comparing real time baropodometric data with that of a force plate platform during gait, and the FScan system during both gait and running prior to clinical and research use. Similarly, the F-Scan system does not hinder gait or running and is therefore, a suitable clinical and research device to measure plantar pressure representative of natural walking in a healthy adult and an elderly community-dwelling population, and natural running in a healthy adult population.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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Comments

A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2014.

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