Author(s): Youdas JW, Kotajarvi BJ, Padgett DJ, Kaufman KR
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine if subjects can offload the right lower extremity to a targeted amount of weight bearing using assistive devices. DESIGN: Case series. SETTING: Motion analysis laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: Ten healthy subjects (5 men, 5 women) without lower-extremity injury and minimal experience using ambulatory aids. INTERVENTIONS: Before data collection subjects were trained by a physical therapist to offload the right lower extremity by 50\% by using an assistive device and a bathroom scale for feedback on weight reduction. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Vertical ground reaction force was measured by using forceplates while subjects walked at a self-selected speed by using a 3-point partial weight-bearing (PWB) gait pattern with axillary crutches, forearm crutches, and wheeled walker. We also measured vertical ground reaction force by using a single-point cane. RESULTS: Each gait aid significantly reduced the right lower-extremity peak vertical ground reaction force. Participants were able to achieve the target of approximately 50\% weight reduction with the axillary (50\% reduction) and forearm (56\% reduction) crutches. The wheeled walker resulted in a peak vertical load of 64\% of body weight, which was in excess of the target load. A single-point cane produced a peak vertical load of 76\% of body weight. CONCLUSIONS: By using a bathroom scale, healthy subjects could be trained to achieve a target goal of 50\% PWB with axillary and forearm crutches. A wheeled walker resulted in weight bearing greater than the target of 50\% of body weight. Subjects were able to offload the right lower extremity by about 25\% of body weight by using a single-point cane.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis