Content » Vol 45, Issue 9

Original report

Gait characteristics of persons with incomplete spinal cord injury in shallow water

Dielise D. Iucksch, Vera L. Israel, Danieli I. R. Ribas, Elisangela F. Manffra
Department of Physiotherapy, Centro de Reabilitação Ana Carolina Moura Xavier, 80035-090 Curitiba, Brazil. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1193


Objective: To describe the kinematic gait characteristics of individuals with incomplete chronic spinal cord injury in a water environment and to compare these characteristics with those of healthy individuals.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Subjects: Nineteen adults divided into 2 groups: individuals (n = 9) with incomplete chronic spinal cord injury (> 1 year), American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) C or D; and a second group (n = 10) of healthy young adults. The groups were paired up according to body mass and height.
Methods: Participants walked at a self-selected speed in a heated pool with water at the level of the xiphoid process. Participants with spinal cord injury were allowed to hold the researcher’s hands. The body segment and joint angle coordinates in the sagittal plane were retrieved with SIMI Motion software. Temporal-spatial variables and joint ranges of motion were compared between groups.
Results: Duration of stance phase, stride length and speed differed significantly (p < 0. 05) between groups. The ranges of joint motion were not significantly different (p > 0. 05), and the joint angle patterns were qualitatively similar between groups.
Conclusion: The physical properties of water provided the required time for reorganization of gait phases and allowed all individuals with spinal cord injury to walk in the water environment.

Lay Abstract


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