Scientific article

Feasibility and reliability of using an exoskeleton to emulate muscle contractures during walking

Published inGait & posture, vol. 50, p. 239-245
Publication date2016

Contracture is a permanent shortening of the muscle-tendon-ligament complex that limits joint mobility. Contracture is involved in many diseases (cerebral palsy, stroke, etc.) and can impair walking and other activities of daily living. The purpose of this study was to quantify the reliability of an exoskeleton designed to emulate lower limb muscle contractures unilaterally and bilaterally during walking. An exoskeleton was built according to the following design criteria: adjustable to different morphologies; respect of the principal lines of muscular actions; placement of reflective markers on anatomical landmarks; and the ability to replicate the contractures of eight muscles of the lower limb unilaterally and bilaterally (psoas, rectus femoris, hamstring, hip adductors, gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, and peroneus). Sixteen combinations of contractures were emulated on the unilateral and bilateral muscles of nine healthy participants. Two sessions of gait analysis were performed at weekly intervals to assess the reliability of the emulated contractures. Discrete variables were extracted from the kinematics to analyse the reliability. The exoskeleton did not affect normal walking when contractures were not emulated. Kinematic reliability varied from poor to excellent depending on the targeted muscle. Reliability was good for the bilateral and unilateral gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior as well as the bilateral hamstring and unilateral hip adductors. The exoskeleton can be used to replicate contracture on healthy participants. The exoskeleton will allow us to differentiate primary and compensatory effects of muscle contractures on gait kinematics.

Citation (ISO format)
ATTIAS, Michael et al. Feasibility and reliability of using an exoskeleton to emulate muscle contractures during walking. In: Gait & posture, 2016, vol. 50, p. 239–245. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.09.016
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0966-6362

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Creation10/24/2016 7:02:00 AM
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