Customized Wearable Sensor-Based Insoles for Gait Re-training in Idiopathic Toe Walkers

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Idiopathic toe walking is associated with lack of heel strike during the initial contact phase of a gait cycle. Idiopathic toe walking affects 5–12% of healthy children in the US. In the case of idiopathic toe walkers: typically, a child can heel-toe walk, but habitually walk on their toes. A corrective intervention is needed during the early age of a child. In this pilot study, we developed a wearable insole with tactile corrective feedback. A total of five subjects (13±4 years) participated in this study. A customized insole was designed with two pressure sensors, inertial measurement units, a vibration tactor and on-board data storage SD card. A vibration biofeedback was provided to the participants if three consecutive toe-toe strikes were found while walking. We found that the average proportion of heel to toe strikes was 0%,66%,64%,53% and 67 % among participants. We also found median time of return to habitual walk of toe-toe gait was 13 seconds. All analysis was conducted on a walking data ranging from 2 to 20 hours of walking. All five subjects reported that the customized insoles were helpful and motivated them for a corrective gait. This novel research with wearable sensors will help physical therapists to utilize innovative intervention methods for gait training in idiopathic toe walkers.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation, volume 55, issue 2, in 2020 following peer review.

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