Wearable Kinesthetic System for Joint Knee Flexion-Extension Monitoring In Gait Analysis

Wearable Kinesthetic System for Joint Knee Flexion-Extension Monitoring In Gait Analysis

Mario Tesconi (University of Pisa, Italy), Enzo Pasquale Scilingo (University of Pisa, Italy), Pierluigi Barba (University of Pisa, Italy) and Danilo De Rossi (University of Pisa, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-561-2.ch311


Posture and motion of body segments are the result of a mutual interaction of several physiological systems such as nervous, muscle-skeletal, and sensorial. Patients who suffer from neuromuscular diseases have great difficulties in moving and walking, therefore motion or gait analysis are widely considered matter of investigation by the clinicians for diagnostic purposes. By means of specific performance tests, it could be possible to identify the severity of a neuromuscular pathology and outline possible rehabilitation planes. The main challenge is to quantify a motion anomaly, rather than to identify it during the test. At first, visual inspection of a video showing motion or walking activity is the simplest mode of examining movement ability in the clinical environment. It allows us to collect qualitative and bidimensional data, but it does not provide neither quantitative information about motion performance modalities (for instance about dynamics and muscle activity), nor about its changes. Moreover, the interpretation of recorded motion pattern is demanded to medical personnel who make a diagnosis on the basis of subjective experience and expertise. A considerable improvement in this analysis is given by a technical contribution to quantitatively analyse body posture and gesture. Advanced technologies allow us to investigate on anatomic segments from biomechanics and kinematics point of view, providing a wide set of quantitative variables to be used in multi-factorial motion analysis. A personal computer enables a realtime 3D reconstruction of motion and digitalizes data for storage and off-line elaboration. For this reason, the clinicians have a detailed description of the patient status and they can choose a specific rehabilitation path and verify the subject progress.
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Although its remarkable advantages, the Quantitative Gait Analysis require large spaces, appropriate environments, and cumbersome and expensive equipment that limit the use to restricted applications.

Moreover, the stereophotogrammetric system requires a pretest calibration and complex procedure which consists in the placement of reflecting markers on the subject body.

Electromyography may be obtrusive if needle electrodes are used to investigate deeper muscles or single motor unit activity. Because of this, although it is a widely accepted methodology, Gait Analysis is still quite difficult to be used in clinical contexts.

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