Plantar pressure image and 3D gait phase image comparison between older adults and adults

Abbas, Nibras Sabih (2021) Plantar pressure image and 3D gait phase image comparison between older adults and adults. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Although gait disorders during the loading phase of gait are serious concerns associated with increasing age, relatively few studies have investigated gait characteristics in healthy older adult subjects and the change in their gait parameters compared to adult subjects. This research study evaluates the variation in plantar pressure patterns, using F-scan pressure sensor insoles, in adults who have not reached an elderly age stage with associated deterioration in their foot planter’s health and function. The study showed major changes in plantar pressure distribution measurements that commonly occur with advancing age. The findings from this investigation can inform the design of custom-made insoles, which would prevent the development of several foot problems sustained by older people. The results revealed an increase in plantar pressure measurements for older adults under a number of foot regions. The mid-foot region was an exemption, which showed a decrease in these measurements for the older adults’ group compared to the adults’ group. Furthermore, the percentage of the averaged weight for each group, when analysing plantar pressure parameters, showed similar findings to those undertaken for the initially analysed data, discounting a small number of variations between the two groups participating in the study: older adults and adults.

Research has demonstrated that the ability to maintain body balance during walking is likely to decline due to weakness in the strength of ankle muscles in older people, particularly for the most hazardous events: slips and trips. Maintaining balance while moving can be affected by the gait task being performed. Previous studies have investigated plantar pressure patterns during different gait tasks: up slopes, down slopes, upstairs, and downstairs; however, greater risks were shown for slope walking than stair walking. There is a lack of standard dynamic measurements of plantar pressure patterns for healthy older adults while performing different walking tasks wearing pressure sensor insoles. Hence, the study investigated plantar pressure parameters while walking on level surfaces and uphill and downhill walking steps for a group of older adults. Higher contact pressure, peak pressure, force-time integral, and pressure-time integral measures, particularly at the whole foot, forefoot, and hallux regions, were located for uphill walking conditions compared to level walking. For a group of older adults, these measures were accompanied by a decrease in contact area values under the same mentioned regions during uphill walking compared to level ii walking. Moreover, the findings showed an excessive increase in several plantar parameters: peak pressure, force-time integral, and pressure-time integral registered under the whole foot, forefoot, and hallux regions while the older subjects performed downhill walking tasks in contrast to that of walking on level surfaces. These measurements could be useful as a reference value for the clinical arena, particularly for physical injury diagnosis and treatment concerning these walking activities.

Additionally, the risk of falls experienced by older people can increase because of instability and body balance impairment that, in turn, may affect foot function during walking. Most foot complaints, including falls sustained by older adults, occur during gait. The evaluation of foot and gait pathologies can be implemented by assessing the measurements of plantar loading patterns for both scientific and clinical fields. Much research has focused on evaluating plantar pressure distribution considering data for the whole stance phase as one assessment. Few investigations have studied plantar loading patterns in each specific gait phase individually, particularly plantar pressure measurements in these phases during gait between older adults and adults. Therefore, this research study investigated the plantar pressure parameters measured during five loading phases of the gait cycle. These measurements provide an overall understanding of changes in plantar loading patterns with advancing age in the selected phases. The variation of plantar parameters, which occurred with increasing age, was observed via employing comparisons between older adults and adult subjects. This aim provided insights into common changes occurring with advancing age in pressure measurements distributed at fifteen plantar regions during the gait loading phase. During the gait trials, the subjects walked barefooted with floor-based pressure mat systems capturing the pressure parameters. The study provided further insights into whether there was a chance of developing plantar tissue damage related to each specific phase under investigation for older adults. Results demonstrated higher contact pressure and peak pressure for older adults, mainly through the mid-stance, push-down, and toe-off phases. These higher values were located underneath the forefoot region, especially at the metatarsal heads and the hallux areas. Therefore, these regions could be assessed as vulnerable throughout the entire plantar surface for people of older age.

The research also investigated the body weight of subjects’ and the total time to complete the gait loading phase while analysing pressure parameters. These parameters were examined during the single-limb support phase when one lower limb iii has the full responsibility for carrying the body weight. The pressure distribution was measured and compared between the two cohorts participating in the study: older adults and adults. The results revealed higher pressure and peak pressure values under most of the selected foot regions for older adults than those measured for adult individuals. The results showed close similarities to those conducted for initial measured plantar pressure parameters.

This investigation also involved innovative techniques for measuring the correlation between 3D gait phase images and corresponding plantar pressure images. Foot rotation and loading was examined by comparing human lower limb movement with corresponding plantar pressure parameters. A low-cost photogrammetric technique was used to obtain high-accuracy measurements of anthropometric landmarks positioned on human lower limbs during the heel-strike, mid-stance, and toe-off phases. As another form of measurement, the Tekscan Matscan system was adopted to evaluate plantar pressure data, particularly the centre of pressure trajectories during the heel-strike, mid-stance, and toe-off phases. The correlation technique was implemented by integrating the two sets of captured data. The integrated data was significant in distinguishing the difference in gait characteristics between cohorts. These comparisons permitted an enhanced evaluation of the gait based on barefoot walking between the two participating groups: older adults and adults. The research results enhance insights into the reasons beyond foot complaints associated with individual gait characteristics, which enable solutions for coping with these problems, thereby minimising risks facing older people during gait.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - No Department (1 Jul 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - No Department (1 Jul 2013 -)
Supervisors: Crowther, Robert; Chong, Albert Kon­Fook; Milburn, Peter; Leis, John; Buttsworth, David; Hoffman, Ben
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2021 02:04
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2022 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gait study, Plantar pressure, Photogrammetry, Loaded gait phase, Plantar regions, Older adults
Fields of Research (2008): 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080104 Computer Vision
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080106 Image Processing
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4003 Biomedical engineering > 400399 Biomedical engineering not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/fwhq-vp38

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