Does curved walking sharpen the assessment of gait disorders? An instrumented approach based on wearable inertial sensors

Valeria Belluscio, Elena Bergamini, Marco Tramontano, Rita Formisano, Maria Gabriella Buzzi, Giuseppe Vannozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Gait and balance assessment in the clinical context mainly focuses on straight walking. Despite that curved trajectories and turning are commonly faced in our everyday life and represent a challenge for people with gait disorders. The adoption of curvilinear trajectories in the rehabilitation practice could have important implications for the definition of protocols tailored on individual’s needs. The aim of this study was to contribute toward the quantitative characterization of straight versus curved walking using an ecological approach and focusing on healthy and neurological populations. Twenty healthy adults (control group (CG)) and 20 patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (9 severe, sTBI-S, and 11 very severe, sTBI-VS) performed a 10 m and a Figure-of-8 Walk Test while wearing four inertial sensors that were located on both tibiae, sternum and pelvis. Spatiotemporal and gait quality indices that were related to locomotion stability, symmetry, and smoothness were obtained. The results show that spatiotemporal, stability, and symmetry-related gait patterns are challenged by curved walking both in healthy subjects and sTBI-S, whereas no difference was displayed for sTBI-VS. The use of straight walking alone to assess gait disorders is thus discouraged, particularly in patients with good walking abilities, in favor of the adoption of complementary tests that were also based on curved paths.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5244
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2 2020


  • Body accelerations
  • Curved trajectories
  • Dynamic balance
  • Figure of 8 walk test
  • Gait quality
  • Mobility evaluation
  • Steering of locomotion
  • Straight walking
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Turning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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