View Poll Results: How many people were "incomplete" shortly after injury are now walking?

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  • I am incomplete and walking (>1 year after injury)

    81 30.45%
  • I am incomplete and walking (≤1 year after injury)

    78 29.32%
  • I am incomplete but not walking (>1 year after injury)

    55 20.68%
  • I am incomplete but not walking (≤1 year after injury)

    46 17.29%
  • I had a "complete" spinal cord injury and recovered walking.

    6 2.26%
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Thread: How many people are "walking quads"?

  1. #1

    How many people are "walking quads"?

    Many people with "incomplete" spinal cord injuries recover substantial function, often to the point of walking. I wonder how many of our members are walking quads/paras? Can you describe your experience?

  2. #2
    C5/6 walking quad here, 19 months post. I started walking in rehab at about 4 weeks. I've been very fortunate and have had a very significant recovery.

    Most recently I'm actually starting to run fairly well. I work out often and am still seeing improvements in my strength and agility. I've posted details of my recovery here many times but if anyone would like to talk feel free to email me.

  3. #3

    Your story is very inspirational. You are very blessed to have such a speedy recovery.

    I do not have your e-mail address to send this to you privately so I will have to ask you here. Did the doctors tell you that you would never walk again? Was your injury complete or incomplete? I'm new to SCI so I have a lot of questions. If you wouldn't mind sending me an e-mail I would love a response. My address is

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. #4
    Big Sister,

    Upon arrival in the ER they initially thought I may be complete but changed this pretty quickly. Prior to my surgery on the second day they told my whole family that I would likely never walk again...

    By the way, you can get my email address by clicking on the icon above my avatar (picture) and viewing my "public profile".

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Before reading my post please note that I was injured in 1976 treatment has changed so much.

    I was originally diagnosed complete. The doctors drilled holes in my scalp and placed me in a halo type of traction with weights till the fracture was stable. About 8 weeks.
    It was during this time my new bride said sorry and good bye. I was depressed but gained new strength from some where.
    Physiotherapists would streach my muscles daily. After a few weeks the big toe on my right foot regained feeling and gradually movement. In time that progressed to involve both legs.
    My diagnoses changed to incomplete C5/6 brown sequard.
    Slowly I regained sensation in my right arm then the left.
    One day a cleaner banged the weights with her mop. That night the halo fell out and crashed to the floor. Lucky the injury was stable and I was placed in a full neck and chest collar.
    Over the next 3 or 4 months I regained power to walk with a stick and ditch the chair. It was probably 6 months and I was walking unaided.
    Since then I have completed a full circle.
    Now I am only just able to walk aided. I recently progressed to an electric wheelchair.
    A syrinx and pain has taken over. Three surgical procedures to help remove adhesions were usless.
    After a recent MRI it was interesting to read that doctors are unable to understand how with my injuries I am able to move at all.
    Because of our injuries we work harder with what function we regain if any. In doing so our bodies seem to wear out quicker then AB. One neuro told me the axons break down. I know a para from my era who cannot use his arms because he has worn out his shoulders.
    In closing Doctor Young I asked your advice a short time ago regarding surgery. After receiving that advice I went ahead on 7/3/03. Adhesions were dethered from the front of the cord as was a piece of silicon put there in another procedure. The pain still persists so I guess I won't die wondering.
    As a walking incomplete quad it is interesting to acknowledge the following similarities. Incontinence, lack of sensation, touch, dysfuctional erections etc. For some unexplained reason a few with spinal injury walk.


  6. #6
    I'm C6 and also was initially diagnosed as complete. Fortunately they didn't tell me, they only tortured my wife with that information. I had shattered my C6 and had a C6/7 dislocation. The ER doc told her to expect that I wouldn't feel or move anything below my chest.

    The day after my accident, a doctor did a complete neurological exam (I have a copy of the chart, she gave me an ASIA B score). Afterwards, she was talking to another Dr. with my wife present, and said: "I think he leaves here in 12 weeks a complete quad." The other Dr. said: "Well, I'm not so sure," and he was right.

    At a month post I was "upgraded" to ASIA C, as I had recovered significant movement in my left leg. A two months post, I got a flicker of movement in my right leg. At four months post, during my first exam with my outpatient rehab doctor, he diagnosed me with Brown-Sequard syndrome and told me that I would most likely walk again, if I worked my ass off. So I did.

    At nine months, I could walk in parallel bars with a KAFO, and shortly thereafter short distances with a walker. I couldn't, however, stand by myself .. I had to have someone hoist me to my feet.

    At about a year I moved to an ASIA D score. At a year-and-a-half, I could stand from a normal-height chair with a walker and walk without any bracing. This was the beginning of functional walking for me.

    Today at a bit over two-years post, I can walk reasonably well with a walker or crutches. I can go up and down stairs, and spend most of the time out of the chair. For example, today I parked the chair at 7:30 am when I left the house and haven't used it since. If I have to go somewhere far or fast, then I use it.

    While I haven't used a brace for quite a while, I am getting an AFO made because as I walk faster and farther, my weaker right leg has some problems with toe drag and knee hyperextension especially as it gets tired.

    I have walked with a cane in controlled conditions. My PT thinks that in another year I should be using the cane out there in the world as I continue to work out and get stronger. Actually my biggest challenge is strengthening my trunk muscles, particularly my hip extensors.

    Pops, your story is a cautionary one. I have wondered how we will hold up as we age. I'm 47 now and want to keep everything I've got for as long as I can, as we all do, huh?

  7. #7
    Bump. With only 33 people responding, over 50% of people who were "incomplete" initially after spinal cord injury are now walking. Come, all people who were "incomplete", i.e. ASIA B, C, or D should vote. People who had "complete" but are walking should also be voting. I know that there are some of you out there. Wise.

  8. #8
    I don't think a lot of the regular forum users come to this forum. I will post a link here from the Life forum and see if we can't get more responses.


  9. #9
    KLD, thanks. Based on these results, it looks as if about half the people with "incomplete" injuries recovered walking, most more than a year after injury. None of people with so-called "complete" spinal cord injuries recovered walking. You know, it is really interesting that you cannot find this information published anywhere in the medical literature. I think that if I had been asked before this how many people walked after incomplete spinal cord injury, I would not have guessed so many. Wise.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dogger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Mitchell , Qld. Australia
    i'm a ''walker'' , never owned a wheelchair , but occasionally use crutches . C5/6 incomplete , 12 years post .

    thank you

    every day i wake up is a good one .

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