It has been noted that when a patient is concussed some of their sensory and motor functions become impaired and patients experience symptoms and degradations in their quality of life. In this research article the authors sought to quantify a measure of motor function in gait initiation as an objective measure of motor deficit in concussion.
The authors recruited 15 concussed patients as well as matched controls. the researchers used two methods of collecting data. The first were 3D accelerometers, the second method was a force place.
The authors found that “concussed patients exhibited decreased COP [centre of pressure] excursion on their dominant foot, both when it was the stepping limb vs the frontal plane and when it was the support limb.” The authors discuss in the conclusion “the dominant limb may be the primary ‘anchor’ in the completion of GI and as such, the deficits that exist may be unique to it. Fundamentally however it is unclear as to why the COP deficits were dominant-limb specific, based on the available data.” The authors conclude that concussions represent negative alterations in supraspinal aspects of motor control in the transition from standing to cyclic gait in the concussed group.
This piece of research brings up an interesting question to what degree can we objectively measure gait changes in concussed patients and if this type of measure could be used to track a person’s progress in recovery. Furthermore, the applications for this type of technology to detect changes in a person’s gait could be useful in the geriatric population to prevent falls.
You can find the research article in full here.