Conscripts in the Finnish Defence Forces were wearing smart insoles during their 15 kilometers long march in a forest – Researchers seek to obtain new knowledge to understand how walking is affected by fatigue and increasing a load among conscripts

MoveSole Smart Insoles based on mobile and sensor technology are involved in a research project among Finnish conscripts. The research seeks to obtain understanding, how walking is affected by fatigue and increasing load on training activities during a military service. Unwanted changes in walking can cause a wide range of foot problems.

Walking is a natural way for a person to move, and over time, human walking has been studied a lot. Based on the research many details of gait are already well known, details like different stages of gait, the average stride length, as well as walking rate and step frequency among people of different ages. So far, gait research has been implemented most often in motion laboratories, mainly because present tools are developed to be used in those laboratories.

However, modern mobile and sensor technologies provide researchers an interesting new option to study human walking not only in laboratories but rather in people’s everyday life settings. Researchers seek to understand human natural movements, and what happens in a foot and lower limb when a person gets tired during gait, and when increasing additional load more than just a person’s body weight as well. Unwanted changes in gait may cause many kinds of problems and pain issues in a foot or leg.

Finnish-based MedTech company, MoveSole, has developed sensor and mobile technology based measurement insoles that has been involved in the research project since spring 2021 among conscripts during their service time. In the project, conscripts are paratroopers at the Utti Jaeger Regiment.

Even though human gait has been studied a lot, we do not have an accurate understanding how fatigue of muscles affect gait. ‘In this research project for the first time, we aim to investigate how walking and pressure distribution under a foot is affected by fatigue and increasing load not in the laboratory conditions but rather in a normal training environment’, says MD, specialist of orthopedics and traumatology and doctor in charge of this ongoing research project Jussi Kosola.

’At first when started to develop mobile measurement insoles, we focused on a rehabilitation process after a trauma or surgical operation. But along the way in the product development process with researchers and professionals we have learnt that gait measurement can be beneficial in many cases not only during a rehabilitation process but also in the prevention of pain and other problems’, says MoveSole CEO Eero Kaikkonen. ‘We are happy to be involved in this research project. We hope that it can increase understanding of gait research in people’s everyday life settings and bring new perspectives on gait measuring’ he says.

Aim of the ongoing research is to measure conscripts’ gait and motion associated with training activities during the whole conscript service at the Utti Jaeger Regiment.