Strength training versus robot-assisted gait training after incomplete spinal cord injury: a randomized pilot study in patients depending on walking assistance
van Hedel, Hubertus J.A.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Background Task-specific locomotor training has been promoted to improve walking-related outcome after incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). However, there is also evidence that lower extremity strength training might lead to such improvements. The aim of this randomized cross-over pilot study was to compare changes in a broad spectrum of walking-related outcome measures and pain between robot-assisted gait training (RAGT) and strength training in patients with chronic iSCI, who depended on walking assistance. We hypothesized that task-specific locomotor training would result in better improvements compared to strength training. Methods Nine participants with a chronic iSCI were randomized to group 1 or 2. Group 1 received 16 sessions of RAGT (45 min each) within 4 weeks followed by 16 sessions of strength training (45 min each) within 4 weeks. Group 2 received the same interventions in reversed order. Main outcome measures were the 10 m Walk Test (10MWT) at preferred and maximal speed. Furthermore, we assessed several measures such as walking speed under different conditions, balance, strength, and 2 questionnaires that evaluate risk of falling and pain. Data were collected at baseline, between interventions after 4 weeks, directly after the interventions and at follow-up 6 months after the interventions. Pain was assessed repeatedly throughout the study. Results There were no significant differences in changes in scores between the 2 interventions, except for maximal walking speed (10MWT), which improved significantly more after strength training than after RAGT. Pain reduced after both interventions. Conclusion In patients with chronic iSCI dependent on walking assistance, RAGT was not more effective in improving walking-related outcome compared to lower extremity strength training. However, the low sample size limits generalizability and precision of data interpretation Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Pages / Article No.
SubjectRehabilitation; Spinal lesion; Training study; Paraplegia; Lokomat; Randomized clinical trial; Walking; Pain
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