Vertical ground reaction force-based analysis of powered exoskeleton-assisted walking in persons with motor-complete paraplegia.”
This is a cross-sectional study performed by the VA to analyze vertical Ground Reaction Forces (vGRF) during powered exoskeleton assisted walking using the ReWalk compared with vGRF of able-bodied gait. The aim was to show the magnitude and pattern of mechanical loading in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) during powered exoskeleton-assisted walking. The study comprised 6 participants with motor complete SCI (T1–T11 AIS A/B) and three age, height, weight, and gender matched able-bodied volunteers. The participants were trained to ambulate over ground using a ReWalk exoskeleton and the vGRF was recorded using F-Scan sensors placed within the participants’ shoes. Participants had to ambulate a minimum of 10 meters with the sensors in the shoes. Peak stance average (PSA) was computed from vGRF and normalized across all participants by percent body weight. Peak vGRF was determined for heel strike, mid-stance, and toe-off. Participants with motor-complete SCI, ambulating independently without hands on assistance, using a ReWalk demonstrated mechanical loading magnitudes and patterns similar to able-bodied gait. This suggests the potential for powered exoskeleton assisted walking to provide a mechanism for mechanical loading to the lower extremities.
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