The validity and accuracy of wrist-worn activity monitors in lower-limb prosthesis users

Disabil Rehabil. 2020 Nov;42(22):3182-3188. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1587792. Epub 2019 Apr 12.


Purpose: To investigate the accuracy of consumer-grade wrist-worn activity monitors during over ground walking in persons using lower-limb prosthetics.Method: Thirty-two participants using lower-limb prosthetics (age = 49.7 ± 14.0 yrs, height = 176.1 ± 11.6 cm, weight = 87.8 ± 21.1 kg) were fitted with a Polar Loop, Fitbit Flex, MOVEBAND, Garmin Vivofit, and a Fitbit Charge on the right and left wrists as well as an Omron HJ-113 pedometer on the right and left hip, then walked 140 m at a self-selected pace on an indoor flat surface.Results: There were no significant differences between any of the respective right and left monitors, p > 0.05. When comparing step counts with actual step counts, Polar Loop (p = 0.001), Fitbit Flex (p = 0.001), and MOVEBAND (p = 0.001) were significantly lower than actual step counts. No significant differences existed between the remaining monitors and actual step counts (p > 0.05). Omron incurred the least error (0.6%), followed by Garmin Vivofit (1.3%) and Fitbit Charge (3.6%), with greatest error in the MOVEBAND (21.4%) and Polar Loop (13.1%). Bland-Altman plots suggest Garmin Vivofit to have the least error along with tightest agreement among the wrist-worn activity monitorsConclusion: When considering the use of consumer-grade wrist-worn activity monitors for assessing step counts in persons using lower-limb prostheses, the Garmin Vivofit seems to be the best option followed by Fitbit Charge.Implications for rehabilitationThis study shows that despite potential of altered gait, some consumer-grade activity monitors can track over ground walking quite well.Clinicians and researchers can use these devices to track activity and prosthetic compliance in their patients.

Keywords: Activity tracker; amputation; amputee; fitness tracker; validity.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Walking
  • Wrist*