Abnormal running kinematics are associated with an increased incidence of lower extremity injuries among runners. Accurate and unobtrusive running kinematic measurement plays an important role in the detection of gait abnormalities and the prevention of injuries among runners. Inertial-based methods have been proposed to address this need. However, previous methods require cumbersome sensor setup or participant-specific calibration. This study aims to validate a shoe-mounted accelerometer for sagittal plane lower extremity angle measurement during running based on a deep learning approach. A convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture was selected as the regression model to generalize in inter-participant scenarios and to minimize poorly estimated joints. Motion and accelerometer data were recorded from ten participants while running on a treadmill at five different speeds. The reference joint angles were measured by an optical motion capture system. The CNN model predictions deviated from the reference angles with a root mean squared error (RMSE) of less than 3.5° and 6.5° in intra- and inter-participant scenarios, respectively. Moreover, we provide an estimation of six important gait events with a mean absolute error of less than 2.5° and 6.5° in intra- and inter-participants scenarios, respectively. This study highlights an appealing minimal sensor setup approach for gait analysis purposes.
Keywords: accelerometer; convolutional neural networks; gait monitoring; inertial sensors; kinematic; running; wearable sensors.