The gait laboratory

The gait laboratory

31 Jan 2011

Assoc. Professor Hylton Menz of the Musculoskeletal Research Centre explains the working of the Gait Laboratory.

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Assoc Professor Hylton Menz:

I'm Hylton Menz, I'm associate Professor at La Trobe University, and I'm in the gait analysis laboratory of the musculo-skeletal research centre. As you can see it's a very large space, it extends over two floors, and is forty metres long. And in fact it's the largest lab of its type in the southern hemisphere.

One of the key features of the laboratory is the Vicon motion analysis system which you can see behind me. It consists of ten high-speed cameras and we use these cameras to collect information about how people walk. Now we use this information in a range of different research applications, for example we look at how people respond following knee replacement surgery, and we can also use this information if people have had a knee injury to see if they're ready to return to sport after that injury.

The vicon system is a retro-reflective marker system. And what that means is we use a series of markers like this which are covered in reflective tape, and we place these markers at different locations on the body. We then ask the participant to walk through the space here, and the movement of their limbs and the position of the markers is detected by the cameras.

Here you can see the vicon software, and it's a real time picture of the information we're picking up with the system. And what it's done is used all those markers to reconstruct a picture of the individual's lower limb.

And you can see here we have the individual walking across the gait lab space, and we can then use that to measure the trajectory of all those markers, and then infer information about the position of the ankle, the hip, and the knee when the person's walking.

This is the analysis part of the vicon software, and it's created a graph, in this case it's looking at a joint angle relative to time. And then what we do is we extract the peaks and the average angles across this information and then apply statistical analysis to look for differences between groups and also look for differences before and after intervention.




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