Validation of an Inertial Measurement Unit to Determine Countermovement Jump Height

Nielsen, E.T., Jørgensen, P.B., Mechlenburg, I., Sørensen, H.

Background:
Vertical jump heights are used to quantify performance in the lower extremities. The aim of this study was to validate a wearable inertial measurement unit (IMU) for the purpose of estimating countermovement jump height using the following methods: numerical double integration (NDI), takeoff velocity (TOV), and flight-time (FT).

Methods:
Fifteen students each performed three jumps in two different sessions, four weeks apart. Jump heights calculated from motion capture and force plate were used as the gold standard for global IMU position and center of mass (CoM) displacement, respectively.

Results:
The NDI method showed higher estimates for global position (1.39 cm, p = 0.025) and for CoM displacement (4.20 cm, p < 0.001). Narrow limits of agreements (LoA) were found (<4.8 cm). Further, a low tolerance level of determining equivalence (delta) between the two sessions regarding both global and CoM displacement (±2.80 and ± 2.90 cm) suggested reasonable test-retest reliability. Similar bias was found for TOV and FT (p < 0.015), and wide LoAs were found for global position and for CoM displacement (TOV: ±7.05 and ± 9.36 cm, FT: ±9.27 and ± 8.49 cm). Further, high delta between the two sessions (TOV: ±3.50 cm, FT: ±4.00 cm) showed poor test-retest reliability. Conclusion: Estimation of countermovement jump height using an IMU leads to the most accurate measurements applying the NDI method. Countermovement jump estimated with an IMU can reliably evaluate functional performance in the lower extremities in young or in sports active patients after surgery or after rehabilitation. Countermovement jump with an IMU allows performing the test without a force plate and thus serves as an objective outcome measure in clinical practice. © 2018 Asia Pacific Knee, Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine Society. Published by Elsevier (Singapore) Pte Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.

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