Evaluation of Validity and Reliability of Inertial Measurement Unit-Based Gait Analysis Systems

Ann Rehabil Med. 2018 Dec;42(6):872-883. doi: 10.5535/arm.2018.42.6.872. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


Objective: To replace camera-based three-dimensional motion analyzers which are widely used to analyze body movements and gait but are also costly and require a large dedicated space, this study evaluates the validity and reliability of inertial measurement unit (IMU)-based systems by analyzing their spatio-temporal and kinematic measurement parameters.

Methods: The investigation was conducted in three separate hospitals with three healthy participants. IMUs were attached to the abdomen as well as the thigh, shank, and foot of both legs of each participant. Each participant then completed a 10-m gait course 10 times. During each gait cycle, the hips, knees, and ankle joints were observed from the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. The experiments were conducted with both a camerabased system and an IMU-based system. The measured gait analysis data were evaluated for validity and reliability using root mean square error (RMSE) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) analyses.

Results: The differences between the RMSE values of the two systems determined through kinematic parameters ranged from a minimum of 1.83 to a maximum of 3.98 with a tolerance close to 1%. The results of this study also confirmed the reliability of the IMU-based system, and all of the variables showed a statistically high ICC.

Conclusion: These results confirmed that IMU-based systems can reliably replace camera-based systems for clinical body motion and gait analyses.

Keywords: Gait analysis; Inertial measurement unit; Kinematics; Motion capture system; Rehabilitation.