Kinematic Analysis of Gait in an Underwater Treadmill Using Land-based Vicon T 40s Motion Capture Cameras Arranged Externally


UAH PRC Research Database

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Journal of Biomechanics


Aquatic therapy for rehabilitation can be performed in a variety of environments, which can vary from a traditional swimming pool to a self-contained underwater treadmill. While kinematic analysis has been performed in large volume swimming pools using specific underwater motion capture systems, researchers may only have access to a land-based motion-capture system, which is not waterproof. Additionally, underwater motion capture systems may not fit within the confines of a smaller underwater treadmill. Thus, the purpose of this study was to design and analyze methodology to quantify lower limb kinematics during an aquatic treadmill session, using a land-based motion capture system. Kinematics of lower limb motion at different speeds was studied while walking on an underwater treadmill in comparison to walking on the same treadmill without water (empty tank). The effects of the presence of water on walking kinematics was analyzed and interpreted using parametric and non-parametric testing procedures. The results suggest significant influences of speed on knee and ankle angles (p < 0.05) in both dryland and aquatic scenarios. Knee and ankle angle measures revealed no significant differences between the dryland and water treadmill scenarios (p > 0.05). The increased time requirement in water for the full gait cycle found in this study indicates influence of resistive effects. This finding can be especially suited for muscle strengthening and stabilizing treatments for lower limbs. Also, a framework was developed to realize a potential methodology to use land-based motion capture cameras to successfully analyze the kinematics of gait in constrained aquatic volumes.

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