Walking with robot assistance: the influence of body weight support on the trunk and pelvis kinematics

Swinnen, Eva and Baeyens, Jean Pierre and Knaepen, Kristel and Michielsen, Marc and Hens, Gerrit and Clijsen, Ron and Goossens, Maggie and Buyl, Roland and Meeusen, Romain and Kerckhofs, Eric (2014) Walking with robot assistance: the influence of body weight support on the trunk and pelvis kinematics. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 3. pp. 252-257. ISSN 1748-3107

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Purpose: The goal was to assess in healthy participants the three-dimensional kinematics of the pelvis and the trunk during robot-assisted treadmill walking (RATW) at 0%, 30% and 50% body weight support (BWS), compared with treadmill walking (TW). Methods: 18 healthy participants walked (2 kmph) on a treadmill with and without robot assistance (Lokomat; 60% guidance force; 0%, 30% and 50% BWS). After an acclimatisation period (four minutes), trunk and pelvis kinematics were registered in each condition (Polhemus Liberty [240 Hz]). The results were analysed using a repeated measures analysis of variance with Bonferroni correction, with the level of suspension as within-subject factor. Results: During RATW with BWS, there were significantly (1) smaller antero-posterior and lateral translations of the trunk and the pelvis; (2) smaller antero-posterior flexion and axial rotation of the trunk; (3) larger lateral flexion of the trunk; and (4) larger antero-posterior tilting of the pelvis compared with TW. Conclusions: There are significant differences in trunk and pelvis kinematics in healthy persons during TW with and without robot assistance. These data are relevant in gait rehabilitation, relating to normal balance regulation. Additional research is recommended to further assess the influence of robot assistance on human gait.

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