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Open Access System of gait analysis based on ground reaction force assessment

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Background: Biomechanical analysis of gait employs various methods used in kinematic and kinetic analysis, EMG, and others. One of the most frequently used methods is kinetic analysis based on the assessment of the ground reaction forces (GRF) recorded on two force plates. Objective: The aim of the study was to present a method of gait analysis based on the assessment of the GRF recorded during the stance phase of two steps. Methods: The GRF recorded with a force plate on one leg during stance phase has three components acting in directions: Fx - mediolateral, Fy - anteroposterior, and Fz - vertical. A custom-written MATLAB script was used for gait analysis in this study. This software displays instantaneous force data for both legs as Fx(t), Fy(t) and Fz(t) curves, automatically determines the extremes of functions and sets the visual markers defining the individual points of interest. Positions of these markers can be easily adjusted by the rater, which may be necessary if the GRF has an atypical pattern. The analysis is fully automated and analyzing one trial takes only 1-2 minutes. Results: The method allows quantification of temporal variables of the extremes of the Fx(t), Fy(t), Fz(t) functions, durations of the braking and propulsive phase, duration of the double support phase, the magnitudes of reaction forces in extremes of measured functions, impulses of force, and indices of symmetry. The analysis results in a standardized set of 78 variables (temporal, force, indices of symmetry) which can serve as a basis for further research and diagnostics. Conclusions: The resulting set of variable offers a wide choice for selecting a specific group of variables with consideration to a particular research topic. The advantage of this method is the standardization of the GRF analysis, low time requirements allowing rapid analysis of a large number of trials in a short time, and comparability of the variables obtained during different research measurements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Pedagogical Faculty, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic 2: Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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