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Robot-assisted walking with the Lokomat: The influence of different levels of guidance force on thorax and pelvis kinematics

      Highlights

      • Little attention has been devoted to the trunk during robot-assisted walking.
      • Robot-assisted walking is significantly different compared to treadmill walking.
      • When using robot assistance, the thorax is stimulated in a different way.

      Abstract

      Background

      Little attention has been devoted to the thorax and pelvis movements during gait. The aim of this study is to compare differences in the thorax and pelvis kinematics during unassisted walking on a treadmill and during walking with robot assistance (Lokomat-system (Hocoma, Volketswil, Switzerland)).

      Methods

      18 healthy persons walked on a treadmill with and without the Lokomat system at 2 kmph. Three different conditions of guidance force (30%, 60% and 100%) were used during robot-assisted treadmill walking (30% body weight support). The maximal movement amplitudes of the thorax and pelvis were measured (Polhemus Liberty™ (Polhemus, Colchester, Vermont, USA) (240/16)). A repeated measurement ANOVA was conducted.

      Findings

      Robot-assisted treadmill walking with different levels of guidance force showed significantly smaller maximal movement amplitudes for thorax and pelvis, compared to treadmill walking. Only the antero-posterior tilting of the pelvis was significantly increased during robot-assisted treadmill walking compared to treadmill walking. No significant changes of kinematic parameters were found between the different levels of guidance force.

      Interpretation

      With regard to the thorax and pelvis movements, robot-assisted treadmill walking is significantly different compared to treadmill walking. It can be concluded that when using robot assistance, the thorax is stimulated in a different way than during walking without robot assistance, influencing the balance training during gait.

      Keywords

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