Impaired walking increases injury risk during locomotion, including falls-related acute injuries and overuse damage to lower limb joints. Gait impairments seriously restrict voluntary, habitual engagement in injury prevention activities, such as recreational walking and exercise. There is, therefore, an urgent need for technology-based interventions for gait disorders that are cost effective, willingly taken-up, and provide immediate positive effects on walking. Gait control using shoe-insoles has potential as an effective population-based intervention, and new sensor technologies will enhance the effectiveness of these devices. Shoe-insole modifications include: (i) ankle joint support for falls prevention; (ii) shock absorption by utilising lower-resilience materials at the heel; (iii) improving reaction speed by stimulating cutaneous receptors; and (iv) preserving dynamic balance via foot centre of pressure control. Using sensor technology, such as in-shoe pressure measurement and motion capture systems, gait can be precisely monitored, allowing us to visualise how shoe-insoles change walking patterns. In addition, in-shoe systems, such as pressure monitoring and inertial sensors, can be incorporated into the insole to monitor gait in real-time. Inertial sensors coupled with in-shoe foot pressure sensors and global positioning systems (GPS) could be used to monitor spatiotemporal parameters in real-time. Real-time, online data management will enable ‘big-data’ applications to everyday gait control characteristics.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited