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Quantifying Asymmetry in Gait: A Weighted Universal Symmetry Index to Evaluate 3D Ground Reaction Forces

  • Though gait asymmetry is used as a metric of functional recovery in clinical rehabilitation, there is no consensus on an ideal method for its evaluation. Various methods have been proposed but are limited in scope, as they can often use only positive signals or discrete values extracted from time-scale data as input. By defining five symmetry axioms, a framework for benchmarking existing methods was established and a new method was described here for the first time: the weighted universal symmetry index (wUSI), which overcomes limitations of other methods. Both existing methods and the wUSI were mathematically compared to each other and in respect to their ability to fulfill the proposed symmetry axioms. Eligible methods that fulfilled these axioms were then applied using both discrete and continuous approaches to ground reaction force (GRF) data collected from healthy gait, both with and without artificially induced asymmetry using a single instrumented elbow crutch. The wUSI with a continuous approach was the only symmetry method capable of determining GRF asymmetries in different walking conditions in all three planes of motion. When used with a continuous approach, the wUSI method was able to detect asymmetries while avoiding artificial inflation, a common problem reported in other methods. In conclusion, the wUSI is proposed as a universal method to quantify three-dimensional GRF asymmetries, which may also be expanded to other biomechanical signals.

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Author:Sónia Alves, Rainald Ehrig, Peter C. Raffalt, Alwina Bender, Georg Duda, Alison N. Agres
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Year of first publication:2020
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