Walking with and without a robotic exoskeleton in people with incomplete spinal cord injury compared to a typical gait pattern

Sattam Almutairi, Chad Swank, Sharon Wang-Price, Fan Gao, Ann Medley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Robotic exoskeleton (RE) enables individuals with lower extremity weakness or paralysis to stand and walk in a stereotypical pattern. OBJECTIVE: Examine whether people with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) demonstrate a more typical gait pattern when walking overground in a RE than when walking without. METHODS: Motion analysis system synchronized with a surface electromyographic (EMG) was used to obtain temporospatial gait parameters, lower extremity kinematics, and muscle activity in ambulatory individuals with SCI and healthy adults. RESULTS: Temporospatial parameters and kinematics for participants with SCI (n = 12; age 41.4±12.5 years) with and without RE were significantly different than a typical gait (healthy adults: n = 15; age 26.2±8.3 years). EMG amplitudes during the stance phase of a typical gait were similar to those with SCI with and without RE, except the right rectus femoris (p = 0.005) and left gluteus medius (p = 0.014) when participants with SCI walked with RE. EMG amplitudes of participants with SCI during the swing phase were significantly greater compared to those of a typical gait, except for left medial hamstring with (p = 0.025) and without (p = 0.196) RE. CONCLUSIONS: First-time walking in a RE does not appear to produce a typical gait pattern in people with incomplete SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-596
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021-IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • Bionics
  • Kinematics
  • Muscle activity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord disorder
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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