Gait-stance duration as a measure of injury and recovery in the rat sciatic nerve model

Janet L. Walker, Joyce M. Evans, Phillip Meade, Phillip Resig, Betty F. Sisken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The rat sciatic nerve is a well-established animal model for the study of peripheral crush injury. Footprint analysis is the most widely used non- invasive method of measuring functional recovery after injury in this model. However, this method has significant limitations due to inability to obtain clear reproducible prints, especially when the injury is severe, and variation of these prints with gait velocity. In the case of contracture or toe loss, footprint analysis is unreliable. We describe a new technique, gait -stance duration, which is capable of non-invasively quantitating functional recovery in the rat model. This method is not dependent on accurate foot positioning during gait. It utilizes video recording of the animal walking and measures the time each hind foot is in contact with the floor by counting the number of frames that pass. By pairing consecutive steps, it minimizes variation due to changes in velocity and, by calculating a ratio of injured/ uninjured hind feet, comparisons to normal gait can be made. This method shows recovery patterns similar to footprint analysis with small inter-animal variability. We believe it has significant advantages over footprint analysis for the measurement of functional recovery in the crushed sciatic nerve rat model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by grants from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation and the National Institutes of Health NS 29621-01. The Kontron Image Processing System was supplied by the Image Processing Consortium of the Wenner-Gren Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of Kentucky. The authors wish to acknowledge the assistence of Richard Kryscio, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Department of Biostatistics, and Tony Dotson and Matthew Zwick with this project.


  • Axonotmesis
  • Functional recovery
  • Gait analysis
  • Nerve injury
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Sciatic nerve
  • Wallerian degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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