Gait variability observed in step duration is predictive of impending adverse health outcomes among apparently healthy older adults and could potentially be evaluated using wearable sensors (inertial measurement units, IMU). The purpose of the present study was to establish the reliability and concurrent validity of gait variability and complexity evaluated with a waist and an ankle-worn IMU. Seventeen women (age 74.8 (SD 44) years) and 10 men (73.7 (4.1) years) attended two laboratory measurement sessions a week apart. Their stride duration variability was concurrently evaluated based on a continuous 3 min walk using a force plate and a waist- and an ankle-worn IMU. Their gait complexity (multiscale sample entropy) was evaluated from the waist-worn IMU. The force plate indicated excellent stride duration variability reliability (intra-class correlation coefficient, ICC = 0.90), whereas fair to good reliability (ICC = 0.47 to 0.66) was observed from the IMUs. The IMUs exhibited poor to excellent concurrent validity in stride duration variability compared to the force plate (ICC = 0.22 to 0.93). A good to excellent reliability was observed for gait complexity in most coarseness scales (ICC = 0.60 to 0.82). A reasonable congruence with the force plate-measured stride duration variability was observed on many coarseness scales (correlation coefficient = 0.38 to 0.83). In conclusion, waist-worn IMU entropy estimates may provide a feasible indicator of gait variability among community-dwelling ambulatory older adults.
Keywords: accelerometer; dynamics; gait; non-linear; wearable.