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Walking mechanics of persons who use reciprocating gait orthoses

William Brett Johnson, BE, et al.

Figure. Example of marker placement used for all subjects.

Although walking with reciprocating gait orthoses (RGOs) may physiologically benefit people with lower-limb paralysis, the high energy cost associated with orthotic ambulation limits use. We conducted this study to measure users walking with RGOs to identify and better understand the potential causes of the high energy cost. Walking was measured in five regular users of RGOs. The results suggest that characteristics of walking with RGOs, such as trunk posture and arm loading, are consistent across users. RGO users' arms bear a large proportion of body weight, and forward bending of the trunk may encourage arm loading. This arm loading likely contributes to the high energy cost of walking with RGOs, since studies have shown that upper-body muscles produce power less efficiently than lower-body muscles. The relationship between posture, arm loading, and the action of the RGO reciprocal link should be further explored.

Volume 46 Number 3, 2009
   Pages 435 — 446

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