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When examining participants with pathologies, a shoe-type inertial measurement unit (IMU) system with sensors mounted on both the left and right outsoles may be more useful for analysis and provide better stability for the sensor positions than previous methods using a single IMU sensor or attached to the lower back and a foot. However, there have been few validity analyses of shoe-type IMU systems versus reference systems for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) walking continuously with a steady-state gait in a single direction. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to assess the validity of the shoe-type IMU system versus a 3D motion capture system for patients with PD during 1 min of continuous walking on a treadmill.
Seventeen participants with PD successfully walked on a treadmill for 1 min. The shoe-type IMU system and a motion capture system comprising nine infrared cameras were used to collect the treadmill walking data with participants moving at their own preferred speeds. All participants took anti-parkinsonian medication at least 3 h before the treadmill walk. An intraclass correlation coefficient analysis and the associated 95% confidence intervals were used to evaluate the validity of the resultant linear acceleration and spatiotemporal parameters for the IMU and motion capture systems.
The resultant linear accelerations, cadence, left step length, right step length, left step time, and right step time showed excellent agreement between the shoe-type IMU and motion capture systems.
The shoe-type IMU system provides reliable data and can be an alternative measurement tool for objective gait analysis of patients with PD in a clinical environment.