Reliable wearable devices for assessing gait, home standing chair speed in osteoarthritis


April 08, 2022

2 minute read



Rose MJ. Reliability of wearable sensors for assessing gait and chair function at home in people with knee osteoarthritis. Presented at: OARSI 2022 World Osteoarthritis Congress; April 7-10; Berlin, Germany (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Rose reported no relevant financial disclosures, but that the study researchers had affiliations with Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer.

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Wearable devices demonstrate high reliability in assessing walking and standing speed in the home of patients with osteoarthritis, according to results presented at the OARSI World Congress 2022.

According to Michael J. Rose, BS, from Boston University.

smartphone on table
“People walked faster and got up faster in the lab than at home,” Michael J. Rose, BStold the participants. Source: Adobe Stock.

“COVID-19 has broadened the adoption of such assessments,” he said. “Our goal was to examine the reliability of wearable sensor measurements during walking and standing chair speed in participants’ homes.”

The researchers also aimed to assess the concordance between the results assessed at home and those assessed in the laboratory by healthcare professionals.

The analysis included 20 patients with physician-diagnosed osteoarthritis who had been recruited from the community. Eligible participants had to be aged 50 or over and able to walk for 20 minutes, while contraindication to exercise was a key exclusion criterion. The average age of the participants was 70.5, while the average BMI was 30.6. The cohort was 85% female and 95% white.

“Age and BMI were typical of an OA cohort,” Rose said.

Researchers provided patients with a tablet for communications, a chair and cones to check standing speed and walking distance, and a sensor to determine the parameters of their physical challenges.

For the gait assessment, participants were asked to walk four laps of a 7-meter track. For the chair evaluation, they had to get up as quickly as possible without using their arms. The challenges were administered once in a health care setting to establish a baseline. At home, participants had to test and retest both challenges.

The results demonstrated “good to excellent” reliability between the first and second home tests, according to Rose.

“This implies that the gait and standing speed results collected using our approach can be used in clinical studies,” he said. “Individuals generally representative of an OA population were generally accepting and willing to participate in a remote visit, which shows the feasibility of our approach.”

The agreement between the data collected at home and that collected in the laboratory was “moderate to excellent”, as opposed to “good to excellent”, according to Rose. He added that data collected at home may have “greater ecological validity” than data collected in health care settings.

“People walked faster and got up faster in the lab than at home,” he said.

Rose added that there were reported logistical and technical issues with the equipment.

“Two participants had gait data that was unusable,” he said.

“Measurements of walking gait and chair support derived from wearable sensors collected in a person’s home environment had good to excellent reliability in repeated measures, and moderate to excellent agreement with measurements collected in a lab environment,” concluded Rose.


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