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Swing phase resistance enhances flexor muscle activity during treadmill locomotion in incomplete spinal cord injury


Lam, T; Wirz, M; Lünenburger, L; Dietz, V (2008). Swing phase resistance enhances flexor muscle activity during treadmill locomotion in incomplete spinal cord injury. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 22(5):438-446.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: . This study investigated whether loading the legs during the swing phase of walking enhances flexor muscle activity in ambulatory patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). METHODS: . Nine patients had surface electromyography (EMG) and joint kinematics recorded from the lower extremities during treadmill walking. Swing phase loading of the legs was achieved by weights (1-3 kg) attached to each lower extremity or by a velocity-dependent resistance applied by the Lokomat robotic gait orthosis. RESULTS: . When patients walked with the weights, there was a consistent increase in the activity of the knee flexors and sometimes of hip or ankle flexor activity during swing. Similarly, when the robot applied the velocity-dependent resistance during walking, swing phase flexor EMG activity tended to be greater. Enhanced knee flexion was observed in all patients after the weights or the robot-generated resistance was removed. CONCLUSIONS: . Flexor muscle activity during swing can be enhanced through additional proprioceptive input in patients with incomplete SCI with brief aftereffects. Further testing of this strategy is necessary to determine if it can improve the gait of ambulatory patients.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: . This study investigated whether loading the legs during the swing phase of walking enhances flexor muscle activity in ambulatory patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). METHODS: . Nine patients had surface electromyography (EMG) and joint kinematics recorded from the lower extremities during treadmill walking. Swing phase loading of the legs was achieved by weights (1-3 kg) attached to each lower extremity or by a velocity-dependent resistance applied by the Lokomat robotic gait orthosis. RESULTS: . When patients walked with the weights, there was a consistent increase in the activity of the knee flexors and sometimes of hip or ankle flexor activity during swing. Similarly, when the robot applied the velocity-dependent resistance during walking, swing phase flexor EMG activity tended to be greater. Enhanced knee flexion was observed in all patients after the weights or the robot-generated resistance was removed. CONCLUSIONS: . Flexor muscle activity during swing can be enhanced through additional proprioceptive input in patients with incomplete SCI with brief aftereffects. Further testing of this strategy is necessary to determine if it can improve the gait of ambulatory patients.

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42 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:September 2008
Deposited On:05 Jan 2009 12:45
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:43
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1545-9683
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1545968308315595
PubMed ID:18780879

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