Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Harris, Gerald F.

Second Advisor

MeGuire, John R.

Third Advisor

Strifling, Kelly M. B.


Upper extremity (UE) joint kinetics (forces and moments) during aided ambulation is an area of research that is not well characterized in the current literature. Biped UE joints are not anatomically designed to be weight bearing, therefore it is important to quantify UE kinetics during assisted gait. This will help to better understand the biomechanical implications of UE weight bearing, and enable physicians to prescribe more effective methods for treatment and therapy. While some studies have investigated loading of crutches, canes, and walkers, few have focused on the pediatric cerebral palsy population. To address this challenge, an UE model that incorporates both kinematics and kinetics has been developed for use with instrumented walkers. In this study, the UE joint kinetics are calculated for 10 children with cerebral palsy using both anterior and posterior walkers. Three-dimensional joint reaction forces and moments are fully characterized for the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints for both walker types. Statistical analysis methods are used to quantify the differences in forces or moments between the two walker types. It is hoped that this study can lead to improvements in gait training routine, walker prescription, or walker design.



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