Associations between Step Duration Variability and Inertial Measurement Unit derived gait characteristics

Document Type

Journal Article


Human Kinetics, Inc.


School of Medical and Health Sciences/Exercise Medicine Research Institute/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Originally published as:

Rantalainen, T., Hart, N. H., Nimphius, S., & Wundersitz, D. W. (2016). Associations Between Step Duration Variability and Inertial Measurement Unit Derived Gait Characteristics. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. Original article available here.


Inertial measurement units (IMU) provide a convenient tool for gait stability assessment. However, it is unclear how various gait characteristics relate to each other and whether gait characteristics can be obtained from resultant acceleration. Therefore, step duration variability was measured in treadmill walking from 39 young ambulant volunteers (age 24.2 [±2.5] years; height 1.79 [±0.09] m; mass 71.6 [±12.0] kg) using motion capture. Accelerations and gyrations were simultaneously recorded with an IMU. Harmonic ratio, maximum Lyapunov exponents, and multiscale sample entropy (MSE) were calculated. Step duration variability was positively associated with MSE with coarseness levels= 3 to 6 (r = –0.33 to -0.42, p≤0.045). Harmonic ratio, and MSE with all coarseness levels were negatively associated (r = -0.45 to- 0.57, p≤0.004). The MSE with coarseness level = 2 was negatively associated with short-term maximum Lyapunov exponents (r = -0.32, p=0.047). The agreement between resultant and vertical-acceleration derived gait characteristics was excellent (ICC = 0.97 to 0.99). In conclusion, MSE with varying coarseness levels was associated with the other gait characteristics evaluated in the study. Resultant and vertical acceleration-derived results had excellent agreement which suggests that resultant acceleration is a viable alternative to considering the acceleration dimensions independently.