The interaction between over-ground exoskeleton gait training and muscle spasticity

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University of New Brunswick


The objectives of this thesis were to establish normative biomechanical and physiological patterns of the lower limb during exoskeleton gait in able-body (AB) users; and to determine if the AB data could aid the interpretation of spinal cord injury (SCI) exoskeleton users, with an investigative consideration to spasticity. Five able-body and two SCI participants were recruited and underwent a series of exoskeleton walking trials using the Ekso GaitTrainer™. Kinematics and EMG at the knee joint were collected using the BioTone™ kit. For analysis, data was cycled using % gait cycle and analyzed using statistical parameter mapping and qualitative case study analyses. Results demonstrated that exoskeleton gait does not resemble normal gait. The AB data assisted in the interpretation of SCI participant data and suspected spastic activity; as well as developing a benefit-risk framework to individually assess the safety of patient users on a case-to-case basis. Keywords: Spinal cord injury, exoskeleton, gait training, spasticity, exoskeleton gait