Lameness is an important issue in group-housed sows. Automatic detection systems are a beneficial diagnostic tool to support management. The aim of the present study was to evaluate data of a positioning system including acceleration measurements to detect lameness in group-housed sows. Data were acquired at the Futterkamp research farm from May 2012 until April 2013. In the gestation unit, 212 group-housed sows were equipped with an ear sensor to sample position and acceleration per sow and second. Three activity indices were calculated per sow and day: path length walked by a sow during the day (Path), number of squares (25×25 cm) visited during the day (Square) and variance of the acceleration measurement during the day (Acc). In addition, data on lameness treatments of the sows and a weekly lameness score were used as reference systems. To determine the influence of a lameness event, all indices were analysed in a linear random regression model. Test day, parity class and day before treatment had a significant influence on all activity indices (P<0.05). In healthy sows, indices Path and Square increased with increasing parity, whereas variance slightly decreased. The indices Path and Square showed a decreasing trend in a 14-day period before a lameness treatment and to a smaller extent before a lameness score of 2 (severe lameness). For the index acceleration, there was no obvious difference between the lame and non-lame periods. In conclusion, positioning and acceleration measurements with ear sensors can be used to describe the activity pattern of sows. However, improvements in sampling rate and analysis techniques should be made for a practical application as an automatic lameness detection system.