Recognizing Hemiparetic Ankle Deficits Using Wearable Pressure Sensors

October 29, 2019

Ahmed RamadanAnindo RoyElisabeth Smela

Objective: To provide proof-of-concept for a novel method to recognize impaired push-off and foot-drop deficits in hemiparetic gait using analog pressure sensors. These data may enhance feedback from a modular ankle exoskeleton (such as Anklebot) for stroke rehabilitation, which now employs on/off foot switches under the foot. Methods: A pressure sensor was positioned on the posterior side of the calcaneus. Experiments were conducted on two healthy subjects with normal walking and with hip circumduction and foot drop, the latter to mimic hemiparetic gait post-stroke. Results: Unlike the foot switches, the pressure sensor yielded data during swing. The initial swing and terminal stance readings followed local foot-shoe dynamics and were thus able to detect foot drop swing deficits while also providing push-off information during stance. Discussion: The analog pressure sensors provided more information than foot switches, even during stance. This system may provide clinicians with a tool to monitor foot drop and push-off.

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