Isolated, combined and co-ordinated exercise practice improves functional movement ability in spinal cord injury patients

Walking outdoors with a walking stick during c...

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In the February edition of the Journal of Neuro Engineering and Rehabilitation 2011 Dr. Angel Gil-Agudo and his group from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Hospital for Spinal Cord Injury Toledo Spain report on Gait kinematic analysis in patients with a mild form of central cord syndrome

Central cord syndrome (CCS) is considered the most common incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). CCS accounts for approximately 9% of traumatic SCIs. It is characterized by disproportionately greater motor impairment in upper compared to lower extremities.

The gait characteristics of subjects with CCS compared with healthy subjects. The gait pattern of CCS patients showed a decrease of knee and ankle sagittal ROM during level walking and an increase in hip abduction to increase base of support.

The HandTutor, ArmTutor and LegTutor systems incorporate the concept of virtual functional tasks. These tasks allow the patient to be given intensive active exercise practice and targeted movement feedback on the position of one, two or more joints. The HandTutor, LegTutor and 3DT Tutor provide both feedback on the patients movement ability and instructions on how to move the joint in association with another joint. This allows the patient to practice isolated and combined movements of the hip and knee and ankle when they work with the LegTutor and 3DTTutor. When the patient works with the HandTutor and ArmTutor system they practice isolated and combined movements of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers. This allows the patient to do intensive task practice that will teach them how to do coordinated movements of two or more joints. Motor learning that teaches the patient how to move more than two joints in a coordinated pattern will improve functional movement ability and the performance of the everyday tasks e.g. walking and reaching.


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