Frédéric Diericka, Massimo Pentab, David Renautb and Christine Detrembleur, , a
a Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Unit, Université Catholique de Louvain, Tour Pasteur 5375, Avenue Mounier 53, 1200, Brussels, Belgium b Physiology and Biomechanics of Locomotion Unit, Université Catholique de Louvain, Place Pierre de Coubertin 1-2, 1348, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
This preliminary study presents the development and testing of an instrumented treadmill device measuring the ground reaction forces (GRFs) and the feasibility of using this force measuring treadmill (FMT) in clinical gait analysis. A commercially available treadmill was modified and fitted out with three-dimensional strain-gauge force transducers. Tests of linearity, centre of pressure position (CoP), cross talk, natural frequency, background noises, and belt speed were undertaken in order to assess the performance of the FMT. In addition, the GRFs and segmental kinematics were recorded while healthy subjects and patients walked on the FMT, in order to compute the net ankle joint moments and the body centre of mass (CMb) kinematics and mechanics. The preliminary results of technical tests were satisfactory with an error less than 10% and dynamic tests in healthy subjects corresponded to the literature. The results of patients were clearly disturbed, demonstrating the ability of the FMT to discriminate pathological gaits from normal ones. We concluded that the GRFs measurements obtained from the FMT seem valid and the clinical assessment of net joint moments and CMb kinematics and mechanics seem feasible. The FMT could be useful device for clinical research and routine gait analysis since it allows gaining some extra room and quickly collecting the GRFs during a large number of successive gait cycles and over a wide range of steady-state gait speeds. However, more work is needed in this area in order to confirm the present results, collect reference data and validate the methodology across pathologies.
Gait & Posture Volume 20, Issue 3 , December 2004, Pages 299-303.