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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(8):1261-8.

Activity monitor accuracy in persons using canes.

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School of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The StepWatch activity monitor has not been validated on multiple indoor and outdoor surfaces in a population using ambulation aids. The aims of this technical report are to report on strategies to configure the StepWatch activity monitor on subjects using a cane and to report the accuracy of both leg-mounted and cane-mounted StepWatch devices on people ambulating over different surfaces while using a cane. Sixteen subjects aged 67 to 85 yr (mean 75.6) who regularly use a cane for ambulation participated. StepWatch calibration was performed by adjusting sensitivity and cadence. Following calibration optimization, accuracy was tested on both the leg-mounted and cane-mounted devices on different surfaces, including linoleum, sidewalk, grass, ramp, and stairs. The leg-mounted device had an accuracy of 93.4% across all surfaces, while the cane-mounted device had an aggregate accuracy of 84.7% across all surfaces. Accuracy of the StepWatch on the stairs was significantly less accurate (p < 0.001) when comparing surfaces using repeated measures analysis of variance. When monitoring community mobility, placement of a StepWatch on a person and his/her ambulation aid can accurately document both activity and device use.

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