Click name to view affiliation
When studying pathological gait it is important to correctly identify primary gait anomalies originating from damage to the central nervous and musculoskeletal system and separate them from compensatory changes of gait pattern, which is often challenging due to the lack of knowledge related to biomechanics of pathological gait. A mechanical system consisting of specially designed trousers, special shoe arrangement, and elastic ropes attached to selected locations on the trousers and shoes is proposed to allow emulation of muscle contractures of soleus (SOL) and gastrocnemius (GAS) muscles and both SOL-GAS. The main objective of this study was to evaluate and compare gait variability as recorded in normal gait and when being constrained with the proposed system. Six neurologically and orthopedically intact volunteers walked along a 7-m walkway while gait kinematics and kinetics were recorded using VICON motion analysis system and two AMTI forceplates. Statistical analysis of coefficient of variation of kinematics and kinetics as recorded in normal walking and during the most constrained SOL-GAS condition showed comparable gait variability. Inspection of resulting group averaged gait patterns revealed considerable resemblance to a selected clinical example of spastic diplegia, indicating that the proposed mechanical system potentially represents a novel method for studying emulated pathological gait arising from artificially induced muscle contractures in neurologically intact individuals.
Institute for Rehabilitation, Linhartova 51, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Trzaška c. 25, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.