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Vol. 36 No. 2, April 1999


Abstract - Comparison of upper limb muscle activity in four walking canes: A preliminary study

Faye Y. Chiou-Tan, MD; Kevin N. Magee, PhD; Thomas A. Krouskop, PhD

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Division of Bioengineering, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77004

Abstract--It is hypothesized that the cane and forearm can be aligned to reduce muscular activity needed during ambulation. In this prospective study, 10 nonimpaired control subjects were tested both in stationary and dynamic weight-bearing states while using different cane prototypes and the platform cane (PC) as compared to the standard cane (SC). The outcome measures were: 1) root mean square (RMS) voltage (µV) of electromyographic (EMG) signal as a measure of muscle power and 2) distance of ambulation. Results of stationary cane use showed that Prototype 1 decreased RMS output by 19 percent (p=0.01), Prototype 2 with wrist splint decreased it by 23 percent (p=0.003), and the PC decreased it by 68 percent (p<0.0001) as compared to the SC (ANOVA, posthoc LSM). In conclusion, the two prototypes and the PC significantly decrease RMS voltage muscle output in the upper limb, compared to the SC.

Key words: biomechanics, cane, gait aid, upper limb.

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