Belén Hidalgo presented her Master’s thesis entitled “Gait kinematics and symmetry in patients with hemiparesis using an audio feedback device” on December 16th at University of Zaragoza. The work corresponds to the Master’s Program in Biomedical Engineering from that university, and has been carried out during Belén’s 6-month stay at the Biomechanical Engineering Lab (BIOMEC).
The project has been developed in collaboration with Sant Joan de Déu – Barcelona Children’s Hospital (HSJD) and the company Draco Systems. The clinical staff, from the Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine at HSJD, selected the four hemiparetic patients involved in the study. Draco Systems designed the audio feedback device used by the paediatric patients.
Belén carried out a biomechanical study to analyse the changes in gait symmetry when patients used the device in four different scenarios. Eight spatiotemporal parameters were used for this purpose: cycle time, stance time, swing time, cadence, stride length, step length, step width and walking speed. Moreover, joint angles, range of motion (RoM) and segment’s angular velocities were measured and analysed.
With this project, it was proved that the device had a positive effect on the patient’s movements: they improved their gait symmetry (with respect to the natural gait without using the device) and, moreover, they kept gait improvements once the device was stopped.