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Detection of abnormal muscle activations during walking following spinal cord injury (SCI).

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Detection of abnormal muscle activations during walking following spinal cord injury (SCI).

Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Apr;34(4):1226-35

Authors: Wang P, Low KH, McGregor AH, Tow A

In order to identify optimal rehabilitation strategies for spinal cord injury (SCI) participants, assessment of impaired walking is required to detect, monitor and quantify movement disorders. In the proposed assessment, ten healthy and seven SCI participants were recruited to perform an over-ground walking test at slow walking speeds. SCI participants were given assistance from physiotherapists, if required, while they were walking. In agreement with other research, larger cadence and smaller step length and swing phase of SCI gait were observed as a result of muscle weakness and resultant gait instability. Muscle activation patterns of seven major leg muscles were collected. The EMG signal was processed by the RMS in frequency domain to represent the muscle activation power, and the distribution of muscle activation was compared between healthy and SCI participants. The alternations of muscle activation within the phases of the gait cycle are highlighted to facilitate our understanding of the underlying muscular activation following SCI. Key differences were observed (p-value=0.0006) in the reduced activation of tibialis anterior (TA) in single stance phase and rectus femoris (RF) in swing phase (p-value=0.0011). We can then conclude that the proposed assessment approach of gait provides valuable information that can be used to target and define therapeutic interventions and their evaluation; hence impacting the functional outcome of SCI individuals.

PMID: 23396198 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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