Center of pressure (COP) during gait is a useful measure for assessing gait ability and has been investigated using platform or insole systems. However, these systems have inherent restrictions in repeated measure design or in obtaining true vertical force. This study proposes a novel method based on a pressure-sensitive mat system for COP measurement and presents normal reference values for the system. To explore repeatability, this work also investigated relative and absolute intra-rater reliabilities and determined the number of footfalls required to obtain a reliable measurement. Ninety healthy young adults participated and performed barefoot walking on a force-sensitive mat at a comfortable and fast pace. The time points and subphase duration of the stance phase, displacement ranges, and mean locations of COP and velocity of COP excursion were parameterized. The results showed acceptable and consistent variabilities of the parameters. Seven footfalls were determined as the threshold for most parameters to show a good to reasonable level of reliability. In conclusion, the presented method can be used as a reliable measurement for COP excursion, and it is recommended that more than seven footfalls be collected to ensure a high level of reliability.
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