Background: The aim of this case study was to identify the effect of a powered hip orthosis on the kinematics and temporal-spatial parameters of walking by a patient with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Case Description and Methods: Two orthoses were evaluated while worn by an incomplete SCI subject with a T-8level of injury. Gait evaluation was performed when walking with an Isocentric Reciprocating Gait Orthosis (IRGO) and compared to that demonstrated by a newly powered version of the orthosis; based on the IRGO superstructure but incorporating powered hip joints using an electrically motorized actuator that produced active hip joint extension and flexion.
Findings and Outcomes: The powered hip orthosis, when compared to the IRGO, increased the speed of walking, the step length and also the cadence demonstrated by this subject. Vertical and horizontal compensatory motions with new orthosis decreased. Hip angles when walking with this orthosis were comparative to those demonstrated by normal walking patterns.
Conclusions: The hip actuator produced positive effects on the kinematics and temporal-spatial parameters of gait during level-ground walking trials, resulting in an alternative approach to walking by SCI patients.
This orthosis has the potential to improve hip joint kinematics, the temporal-spatial parameters of gait in SCI patients walking.