Validity and reliability of an IMU-based method to detect APAs prior to gait initiation

Martina Mancini, Lorenzo Chiari, Lars Holmstrom, Arash Salarian, Fay B. Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) prior to gait initiation have been largely studied in traditional, laboratory settings using force plates under the feet to characterize the displacement of the center of pressure. However clinical trials and clinical practice would benefit from a portable, inexpensive method for characterizing APAs. Therefore, the main objectives of this study were (1) to develop a novel, automatic IMU-based method to detect and characterize APAs during gait initiation and (2) to measure its test-retest reliability. Experiment I was carried out in the laboratory to determine the validity of the IMU-based method in 10 subjects with PD (OFF medication) and 12 control subjects. Experiment II was carried out in the clinic, to determine test-retest reliability of the IMU-based method in a different set of 17 early-to-moderate, treated subjects with PD (tested ON medication) and 17 age-matched control subjects. Results showed that gait initiation characteristics (both APAs and 1st step) detected with our novel method were significantly correlated to the characteristics calculated with a force plate and motion analysis system. The size of APAs measured with either inertial sensors or force plate was significantly smaller in subjects with PD than in control subjects (p<. 0.05). Test-retest reliability for the gait initiation characteristics measured with inertial sensors was moderate-to-excellent (0.56. <. ICC. <. 0.82) for both groups.Our findings support the feasibility of automatically characterizing postural preparation and gait initiation with body-worn inertial sensors that would be practical for unsupervised clinical and home settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Force plates
  • Gait initiation
  • Inertial sensors
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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