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Wearable Sensors Quantify Mobility in People With Lower Limb Amputation During Daily Life

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It is necessary to effectively assess functional mobility for appropriate prosthetic prescription and post-amputation rehabilitation. As part of this process, patients’ ability for variable cadence and community ambulation are assessed in-clinic, often through visual assessments and without objective standards. The purpose of this study was to explore the clinical viability of using wearable sensors to characterize the functional mobility of people with lower limb amputation. We collected inertial measurement unit (IMU) and global positioning system (GPS) data over two weeks, from 17 individuals with lower limb amputation and 14 healthy non-amputee controls. We calculated stride-by-stride cadence, walking speed and stride lengths, along with whether they occurred in or out of the home. Self-selected walking speed was also assessed in the lab. Compared to the lab, both groups walked slower and with a lower cadence during their daily lives. There were no differences in cadence variability between groups or between strides taken in and out of the home. Both groups walked faster and with greater stride lengths away from the homes. The results suggest that functional capacity measured in the lab was not necessarily reflected in routine walking during daily life. The walking measures derived in this approach can be used to aid in the prosthetic prescription process or in the assessment of different interventions.

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