Date of Award

Fall 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Harris, Gerald F.

Second Advisor

Winters, Jack

Third Advisor

Wang, Mei


The use of quantitative models for evaluating upper extremity dynamics in children with myelomeningocele is limited. A biomechanical model for assessment of upper extremity dynamics during Lofstrand crutch-assisted gait in children with myelomeningocele is presented. Two prominent types of forearm, crutch-assisted gait patterns were studied: (1) reciprocal gait and (2) swing-through gait. This pediatric model may be a valuable tool for clinicians to characterize crutch-assisted gait. The goal of this study was to determine if the upper extremity biomechanical model could detect meaningful differences in trunk, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and crutch motions, forces, and moments during the two different types of crutch-assisted gait. We found that joint ranges of motion, peak joint forces, and peak joint moments were greater during swing-through gait than reciprocal gait. We hope to gain a better understanding of the demands placed on the upper extremity during reciprocal gait and swing-through gait in children with myelomeningocele. Accurate quantitative assessment is essential for preventing injury in long-term crutch users. This study has potential for improving clinical intervention strategies, therapeutic planning, and crutch design.



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