Lower Limb Voluntary Movement Improvement Following a Robot-Assisted Locomotor Training in Spinal Cord Injury
Deborah Varoqui*,†, Chirag Patel*, Xun Niu*,† and Mehdi Mirbagheri*,†
Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, USA
(†) Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University, USA
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Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) suffer from severe impairments in voluntary movements. Literature reports a reduction in major kinematic and kinetic parameters of lower limbs’ joints. A body weight support treadmill training with robotic assistance has been widely used to improve lower-extremity function and locomotion in persons with SCI. Our objective was to explore the effects of 4-weeks robot-assisted locomotor training on voluntary movement of the ankle musculature in patients with incomplete SCI. In particular, we aimed to characterize the therapeutic effects of Lokomat training on kinematic measures (range of motion, velocity, smoothness) during a dorsiﬂexion movement. We hypothesized that training would improve these measures. Preliminary results show an improvement of kinematic parameters during ankle dorsiﬂexion voluntary movement after a 4-weeks training in the major part of our participants. Complementary investigations are in progress to conﬁrm these results and understand underlying mechanisms associated with the recovery.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011