Effects of walking speed and age on the directional stride regularity and gait variability in treadmill walking


In Inertial measurement unit (IMU) based gait analysis systems, the shoe-type sensor is not commonly used, unlike trunk attached sensors. The purpose of this study was to assess the directional Stride regularity (SR) and Gait variability (GV) of data from shoe-type IMU sensors during leveled treadmill walking. The other aim was to investigate the effects of walking speed and age on directional SR and GV in an attempt to find the directional preference associated with gait stability. The DynaStabTM (IMU based gait analysis system) including Smart Balance® (shoe-type data logger) was used to collect normal gait data from forty-four subjects in their 20s (n = 20), 40s (n = 13), and 60s (n = 11). Four different walking speeds (3, 4, 5 and 6 km/h, respectively) on a treadmill were applied for one-minute of continuous leveled walking. Three linear accelerations and three angular velocities were measured with shoe-type IMU sensors. The SR (autocorrelation) and CV of ensemble data (coefficient of variation) on directional kinematics were calculated and compared with different walking speeds and ages. The results indicated that the lateral kinematics (mediolateral acceleration and yawing and rolling angular velocities) had lower stride regularity and higher gait variability than the anteroposterior and vertical kinematics across all walking speeds and ages. Significant interactions on the SRs and GVs from walking speed and age were found for only mediolateral acceleration and rolling angular velocity. Conclusively, the shoe-type IMU sensor system assessed directional SR and GV during walking conveniently. People should be careful with lateral kinematics since it is very sensitive to walking speed and age from the perspective of gait stability.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Young-Kwan Kim.

Additional information

Recommended by Associate Editor Yoon Hyuk Kim

Young-Kwan Kim received a Ph.D. degree in Exercise Science from Arizona State University (2008). His B.S. (1994) and M.S. (1996) degrees were in Aerospace Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He received another M.S. degree in Kinesiology from Texas Christian University (2002). Currently, he is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education at Chonnam National University in Korea. His main research fields are biomechanics and motor control of human movements especially during sports activities and fundamental motor skills.

Ji-Yong Joo received his B.S. degree (2012) in Electrical Engineering from Chosun University and his M.S. degree (2014) in the Department of Physical Education from Chonnam National University, Korea. He is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Physical Education at Chonnam National University. His research interests are human body dynamics and injury mechanisms in the knee associated with drop landing.

Sang-Hyeok Jeong received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Kumho National Institute of Technology, South Korea, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He is currently a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Engineering, Gyeong-gi Province, South Korea. His current research interests include biomedical signal processing, system on chip design and embedded sensor system.

Jean-Hong Jeon received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from Korea Aerospace University, Gyeong-gi Province, South Korea, in 1993 and 1995, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree in Kinesiology from The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA, in 2008. He is currently a research director at the SOT Movement Therapy Institute of Gangnam St. Mary Orthopaedic Clinic, Seoul. His current research interests include Clinical and ICT convergence technology for neuromotor control of human movements.

Dae-Young Jung received his M.D. degree from The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea, in 1986. He is currently the Director of the SOT Movement Therapy Institute of Gangnam St. Mary Orthopaedic Clinic, Seoul, where he has also served as the Chairman of Movement Therapy, Antigravity and Clinical Gait Analysis Society. His current research interests include dynamic body balance, in particular sacro-occipital technique. Dr. Jung is currently elected the Director and Principal Investigator of Movement Therapy Education Sector in the Korean Medical Association.

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Kim, YK., Joo, JY., Jeong, SH. et al. Effects of walking speed and age on the directional stride regularity and gait variability in treadmill walking. J Mech Sci Technol 30, 2899–2906 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12206-016-0549-z

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  • Gait stability
  • Inertial sensor
  • Regularity
  • Variability