Physiother Theory Pract. 2010 Jul 22.

Impact of a limited trial of walking training using body weight support and a treadmill on the gait characteristics of an individual with chronic, incomplete spinal cord injury.

Leahy TE.

Department of Physical Therapy, Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma, USA.

Studies showing improvement in locomotor ability for individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) use training times that may be prohibitive for clinics. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a limited period of training on the gait characteristics of a man with chronic, incomplete SCI. The participant was a minimally ambulatory 59-year-old man almost 3 years post C(3) central cord injury with an ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) classification of C. The participant received 11 training sessions using body weight support and a treadmill (BWST) over a 6-week period. The Six Minute Walk Test (6 MWT), and gait characteristics measured with motion analysis were obtained pretraining and posttraining. The participant made improvements on all measured gait characteristics. The participant's walking speed and comfort level on the treadmill improved enough for him to use community resources. This participant was able to make improvements in his gait with a much shorter training time period than those reported in previous locomotor training studies. Although this man did not obtain community ambulation status, his decreased dependence on his power chair at home and his new ability to use an available treadmill allow for continued walking practice outside the clinic.