Accelerometry: A technique for quantifying movement patterns during walking Academic Article uri icon


  • The popularity of using accelerometer-based systems to quantify human movement patterns has increased in recent years for clinicians and researchers alike. The benefits of using accelerometers compared to more traditional gait analysis instruments include low cost; testing is not restricted to a laboratory environment; accelerometers are small, therefore walking is relatively unrestricted; and direct measurement of 3D accelerations eliminate errors associated with differentiating displacement and velocity data. However, accelerometry is not without its disadvantages, an issue which is scarcely reported in gait analysis literature. This paper reviews the use of accelerometer technology to investigate gait-related movement patterns, and addresses issues of acceleration measurement important for experimental design. An overview of accelerometer mechanics is provided before illustrating specific experimental conditions necessary to ensure the accuracy of gait-related acceleration measurement. A literature review is presented on how accelerometry has been used to examine basic temporospatial gait parameters, shock attenuation, and segmental accelerations of the body during walking. The output of accelerometers attached to the upper body has provided useful insights into the motor control of normal walking, age-related differences in dynamic postural control, and gait patterns in people with movement disorders.

publication date

  • July 2008