Gait analysis under the lens of statistical physics

Zanin, Massimiliano; Olivares, Felipe; Pulido-Valdeolivas, Irene; Rausell, Estrella; Gomez-Andres, David
Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 20, 3257-3267 (2022)

Human gait is a fundamental activity, essential for the survival of the individual, and an emergent property of the interactions between complex physical and cognitive processes. Gait is altered in many situations, due both to external constraints, as e.g. paced walk, and to physical and neurological pathologies. Its study is therefore important as a way of improving the quality of life of patients, but also as a door to understanding the inner working of the human nervous system. In this review we explore how four statistical physics concepts have been used to characterise normal and pathological gait: entropy, maximum Lyapunov exponent, multi-fractal analysis and irreversibility. Beyond some basic definitions, we present the main results that have been obtained in this field, as well as a discussion of the main limitations researchers have dealt and will have to deal with. We finally conclude with some biomedical considerations and avenues for further development.

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