The new perturbation treadmill from Motek Medical takes up most of the space in the gait laboratory. Equipped with two force measuring plates, two differently controllable treadmills and the "CAREN" application, a computer-aided analysis system, it offers countless possibilities for analysing a person's gait from different perspectives.
Swivelling the treadmill to the right and left by up to 5 centimetres, an incline and decline of up to 10 degrees, as well as abrupt acceleration or abrupt stopping of both treadmills or just the right or left treadmill are just some of the possibilities for provoking perturbations while walking. The perturbations are intended to imitate everyday situations such as starting a tram or bus, where it is easy to trip. To ensure that tripping on our treadmill - unlike often in everyday situations - has no negative consequences, a safety belt is always worn while walking on the treadmill.
The gait lab is equipped with, a portable gas exchange analysis system with an integrated ECG device.
Gas exchange analysis is considered the highest standard for measuring endurance performance. The patient or test person is instrumented with a mask over mouth and nose, and a sensor is attached to the front of the mask to analyze the volume, as well as O2 and CO2 concentration of the expiration.
From these values, conclusions can be drawn about the individual fitness level during increasing work rates. These values are not only relevant for athletes for individual training planning, but also for patients, e.g. individual risk assessment prior to surgical interventions. Gas exchange analysis, especially in combination with the assessment of heart rate, can reveal performance limitations as a result of side effects of drug therapy (B-blockers, thyroid hormones, asthma medications).
In the division of Geriatric Medicine, gas exchange analysis is used to determine the individual endurance capacity of older adults as a potential risk factor for falls and gait instability.
The department uses new types of depth image cameras for motion analyses at the gait lab at the University of Oldenburg as well as at the Rehazentrum Oldenburg. These cameras can measure distance to objects via infrared signals, enabling a non-contact 3D reconstruction of 32 automatically detected anatomical points. With the help of motion analysis, a number of walking parameters and the subjects' gait stability on the treadmill can be measured.
Another component of gait and movement analysis at the gait lab are the wearable Opal sensors from APDM. The sensor units are attached to different places of the body with a strap. Using the data of the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, the acceleration and orientation of the respective body section are recorded over a period of time and enable the mapping of a movement in three-dimensional space. Data processing can be done via the APDM MobilityLab software as well as via the raw data of the individual sensors. The combined use of the sensors thus creates a kinematic overall picture of movement sequences for a detailed analysis of gait parameters, balance and posture.