Objective assessment of detailed gait patterns after orthopaedic surgery is important for post-surgical follow-up and rehabilitation. The purpose of this paper is to assess the use of a single ear-worn sensor for clinical gait analysis. A reliability measure is devised for indicating the confidence level of the estimated gait events, allowing it to be used in freewalking environments and for facilitating clinical assessment of orthopaedic patients after surgery. Patient groups prior to or following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and knee replacement were recruited to assess the proposed method. The ability of the sensor for detailed longitudinal analysis is demonstrated with a group of patients after lower limb reconstruction by considering parameters such as temporal and force-related gait asymmetry derived from gait events. The results suggest that the ear-worn sensor can be used for objective gait assessments of orthopaedic patients without the requirement and expense of an elaborate laboratory setup for gait analysis. It significantly simplifies the monitoring protocol and opens the possibilities for home-based remote patient-assessment.
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