A soft robotic exosuit assisting the paretic ankle in patients post-stroke: Effect on muscle activation during overground walking.
This study analyzes muscle activation and gait mechanics during walking with and without a soft exosuit for individuals with stroke. The researchers recorded EMG of bilateral tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of 8 hemiparetic individuals. Exosuit assistance produced an 8% increase in paretic propulsion (p=0.03), an 11% increase in maximum ankle moment during push-off (p=0.048), and a 9° improvement in ground clearance during swing (p=0.003). In the subset of participants presenting with forefoot landing patterns (n =4), exosuit assistance produced a heel strike pattern and reduced their abnormally high muscle activity during early stance. The authors found no statistical changes in TA activity during swing or calf muscle activity during push-off, indicating that the exosuit assistance is complementary to the participants’ own effort.
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