Unilateral non-electric assistive walking device helps neurological and orthopedic patients to improve gait patterns

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Pathological gait patterns are common in neurological and orthopedic patients. These put them at risk of falling and restrict their autonomy and social participation. Novel assistive walking devices are designed to actively support physiological gait patterns by means of motor guidance and mechanical support of the lower limbs.
Research question:
Does a non-electric assistive walking device powered by a cam-spring mechanism (aLQ, Imasen) improve or otherwise affect pathological gait patterns in neurological and orthopedic patients?
A three-dimensional instrumented gait analysis was conducted on a treadmill (quasar, hp cosmos) using spatiotemporal, kinetic, and kinematic data obtained from synchronized motion capturing (Miqus M3, Qualisys), surface EMG (sEMG; Ultium, Noraxon), and pressure distribution measurements (FMD-T, Zebris). Participants with impaired walking were tested in a randomized repeated measures design (assisted/unassisted; at preferred/fast speed) and analyzed with regard to their medical condition (orthopedic or neurological group, n = 20 each).
In both groups, participants showed a significant increase of step length and decrease of cadence during assisted walking compared to baseline. Immediate kinematic effects included enhanced sagittal hip flexion but reduced extension. On the contrary, knee joint angles and muscle activity of M. gastrocnemius and M. rectus femoris seemed to be unaffected by the aLQ device.
Participants appear to benefit from the assistive walking device regarding gait and movement patterns, which suggests that the tested device may help to improve patients’ functional health status and quality of life. Activities of daily living (ADLs) that involve extensive hip flexion like stairs or curb climbing are promising applications. We propose the implementation of an invertible cam-spring that provides an additional resistance training option.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGait & Posture
Pages (from-to)294-301
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2022


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