The influence of frontal alignment in the advanced reciprocating gait orthosis on energy cost during paraplegic gait

Maarten Joost IJzerman, Gert Baardman, Hermie J. Hermens, Peter H. Veltink, Herman B.K. Boom, Gerald Zilvold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Reduction of energy cost and upper body load during paraplegic walking is considered to be an important criterion in future developments of walking systems. A high energy cost limits the maximum walking distance in the current devices, whereas wrist and shoulder pathology can deteriorate because of the high upper body load. A change in alignment of the mechanical brace in the frontal plane, i.e. abduction, can contribute to a more efficient gait pattern with sufficient foot clearance with less pelvic lateral sway. A decrease in pelvic lateral sway after aligning in abduction results in a shift of the centre of mass to the swing leg crutch which may result in a decrease in required crutch force on stance side to maintain foot clearance. Five paraplegic subjects were provided with a standard Advanced Reciprocating Gait Orthosis (ARGO) and an ARGO aligned in 4 different degrees of abduction (0°, 3°, 6° and 9°). After determining an optimal abduction angle for each of the subjects, a cross over design was used to compare the ARGO with the individually optimised abducted orthosis. An abduction angle between 0° and 3° was chosen as optimal abduction angle. Subjects were not able to walk satisfactory with abduction angles 6° and 9°. A significant reduction in crutch peak force on stance side was found (approx. 12% , p < 0.01) in the abducted orthosis. Reduction in crutch force time integral (15%) as well as crutch peak force on swing side (5%) was not significant. No differences in oxygen uptake as well as oxygen cost was found. We concluded that an abduction angle between 0° and 3° is beneficial with respect to upper boHy load, whereas energy requirements did not change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-23
Issue number72
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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