Nonlinear analysis of gait kinematics to track changes in oxygen consumption in prolonged load carriage walking: A pilot study

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Linking human mechanical work to physiological work for the purpose of developing a model of physical fatigue is a complex problem that cannot be solved easily by conventional biomechanical analysis. The purpose of the study was to determine if two nonlinear analysis methods can address the fundamental issue of utilizing kinematic data to track oxygen consumption from a prolonged walking trial: we evaluated the effectiveness of dynamical systems and fractal analysis in this study. Further, we selected, oxygen consumption as a measure to represent the underlying physiological measure of fatigue. Three male US Army Soldier volunteers (means: 23.3 yr; 1.80 m; 77.3 kg) walked for 120 min at 1.34 m/s with a 40-kg load on a level treadmill. Gait kinematic data and oxygen consumption (VO2) data were collected over the 120-min period. For the fractal analysis, utilizing stride interval data, we calculated fractal dimension. For the dynamical systems analysis, kinematic angle time series were used to estimate phase space warping based features at uniform time intervals: smooth orthogonal decomposition (SOD) was used to extract slowly time-varying trends from these features. Estimated fractal dimensions showed no apparent trend or correlation with independently measured VO2. While inter-individual difference did exist in the VO2 data, dominant SOD time trends tracked and correlated with the VO2 for all volunteers. Thus, dynamical systems analysis using gait kinematics may be suitable to develop a model to predict physiologic fatigue based on biomechanical work.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomechanics