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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2019 April;55(2):265-80

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05306-6


language: English

Inertial sensors versus standard systems in gait analysis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Federica PETRAGLIA 1, Luca SCARCELLA 1, Giuseppe PEDRAZZI 1, Luigi BRANCATO 2, Robert PUERS 2, Cosimo COSTANTINO 1

1 Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy; 2 KU Leuven, ESAT-MICAS, Leuven, Belgium

INTRODUCTION: The increasing popularity of inertial sensors in clinical practice is not supported by precise information on their reliability or guidelines for their use in rehabilitation. The authors investigated the state of the literature concerning the use of inertial sensors for gait analysis in both healthy and pathological adults comparing traditional systems. Furthermore, trying to define directions for clinicians.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: In accordance with the PRISMA statement, authors searched in PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus all paper published from January 1st, 2005 until December 31st, 2017. They included both healthy and pathological adults’ subjects as population, wearable or inertial sensors used for gait analysis and compared with classical gait analysis performed in a Motion Lab as intervention and comparison, gait parameters as outcomes. Considering the methodological quality, authors focused on: sample; description of the study; type of gait analysis used for comparison; type of sensor; sensor placement on the body; gait task requested.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: From a total of 888 articles, 16 manuscripts were selected and 7 of them were considered for meta-analysis for different gait parameters. Demographic data, tested devices, reference systems, test procedures and outcomes were analyzed.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show a good agreement between inertial sensors and classical gait analysis for some gait parameters, supporting their use as a solution for capturing kinematic information over an extended space and time and even outside a laboratory in real-life conditions. Authors can support the use of portable inertial sensors for a practical gait analysis in clinical setting with good reliability. It will then be the experience of the clinician to direct the decision-making process.

KEY WORDS: Gait analysis; Rehabilitation; Review

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