Document Type




Format of Original

10 p.

Publication Date




Source Publication

Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1016/j.jecm.2011.09.010



This paper presents a review of current state-of-the-art dynamic systems for quantifying the kinematics and kinetics of the joints of the upper extremities during Lofstrand crutch-assisted gait. The reviewed systems focus on the rehabilitation of children and adults with myelomeningocele (MM), cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injury (SCI), and osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). Forearm crutch systems have evolved from models with single- to multi-sensor hardware systems that can incorporate an increasing number of segments that are in compliance with the standards of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB).


The initial system developed by our group was a single, six-axis, sensor-crutch design with an accompanying ISB-compliant, inverse dynamics model. The model consisted of seven upper body segments and two crutch segments. After thorough validation of the software and hardware, it was tested using nine children with MM. The join dynamics of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist were assessed during reciprocal and swing-through gait.


The dynamic metrics of the upper extremeties, including the mean, range, and maximum force and moment, were found to be significantly different depending on the gait pattern. Joint forces were found to be the greatest during swing-through gait, with inferior forces reaching 50% of body weight. In order to improve upon the initial system, our group developed a four-sensor crutch system that measures the contributions of the crutch-cuff kinetics. The inverse dynamics model was enhanced by including crutch-cuff and sensor segments that also follow the ISB modeling standards. This system was used to model subjects with CP, SCI, and OI. Maximum joint forces were measured in the subject with CP, while maximum moments were measured in the subject with SCI. The subject with OI presented the smallest joint forces and moments.


These novel model systems may be used to improve the quantification of joint dynamics during Lofstrand crutch-assisted gait. These methods may ultimately improve the identification of the risk factors for joint pathology and subsequent therapeutic planning and rehabilitation paradigms.


Accepted version. Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 5 (October 2011): 217-227. DOI. © 2011 Elsevier. Used with permission.

Brooke A. Slavens was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee at the time of publication.

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