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Augmenting forearm crutches with wireless sensors for lower limb rehabilitation

Merrett, Geoff V., Ettabib, Mohamed A., Peters, Christian, Hallett, Georgina and White, Neil M. (2010) Augmenting forearm crutches with wireless sensors for lower limb rehabilitation Measurement Science and Technology, 21, (12), pp. 1-10. (doi:10.1088/0957-0233/21/12/124008).

Record type: Article


Forearm crutches are frequently used in the rehabilitation of an injury to the lower limb. The recovery rate is improved if the patient correctly applies a certain fraction of their body weight (specified by a clinician) through the axis of the crutch, referred to as partial weight bearing (PWB). Incorrect weight bearing has been shown to result in an extended recovery period or even cause further damage to the limb. There is currently no minimally invasive tool for long-term monitoring of a patient's PWB in a home environment. This paper describes the research and development of an instrumented forearm crutch that has been developed to wirelessly and autonomously monitor a patient's weight bearing over the full period of their recovery, including its potential use in a home environment. A pair of standard forearm crutches are augmented with low-cost off-the-shelf wireless sensor nodes and electronic components to provide indicative measurements of the applied weight, crutch tilt and hand position on the grip. Data are wirelessly transmitted between crutches and to a remote computer (where they are processed and visualized in LabVIEW), and the patient receives biofeedback by means of an audible signal when they put too much or too little weight through the crutch. The initial results obtained highlight the capability of the instrumented crutch to support physiotherapists and patients in monitoring usage.

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More information

Published date: 29 October 2010
Keywords: assistive healthcare, forearm crutches, instrumented objects, biomedical engineering, patient monitoring, biofeedback
Organisations: Optoelectronics Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Electronics & Computer Science, Applied Mathematics


Local EPrints ID: 271457
ISSN: 0957-0233
PURE UUID: 65ffcce2-40b1-47b5-8236-15d0539fb081
ORCID for Geoff V. Merrett: ORCID iD
ORCID for Neil M. White: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 02 Aug 2010 08:19
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:42

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Author: Geoff V. Merrett ORCID iD
Author: Christian Peters
Author: Georgina Hallett
Author: Neil M. White ORCID iD

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