Apparatus for dynamic balance training during treadmill walking
Objective: A presentation of a novel apparatus for dynamic balance training during treadmill walking, which was tested in a case study.
Subject: The subject was a man with incomplete chronic spinal cord injury (C5), graded D on the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale.
Methods: Following a 6-month baseline period, 4 weeks of control treatment (treadmill walking) and a subsequent 4 weeks of experimental treatment (treadmill walking assisted by the apparatus) were compared. Outcome measures were Lower Extremities Motor Score, Berg Balance Scale, 10-metre walking test and 9-minute walking test.
Results: During the baseline period the changes in the outcome measures were small. After the control treatment the balance score remained unchanged, while walking speed and walking endurance increased moderately. Experimental treatment resulted in further substantial changes in balance and walking endurance scores, while further increase in walking speed was moderate. At follow-up these values were maintained. Lower Extremities Motor Scores were almost identical in all study phases.
Conclusion: The subject's walking and balancing abilities improved moderately after the control treatment, while greater improvement occurred during experimental treatment. This indicates that the apparatus developed might be an important tool for facilitating dynamic balancing training during treadmill walking.
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