Swing-phase pelvis perturbation improves dynamic lateral balance during walking in individuals with spinal cord injury

Seoung Hoon Park, Jui Te Lin, Weena Dee, Renee Keefer, William Z. Rymer, Ming Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the control of lateral balance can be improved by applying repeated lateral perturbation force to the pelvis during swing versus stance phase walking in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Fourteen individuals with incomplete SCI were recruited in this study. Each participant visited the lab once and was tested in two experimental sessions that consisted of (1) treadmill walking with bilateral perturbation force applied to the pelvis in the lateral direction during either swing or stance phase of each leg and (2) overground walking pre- and post-treadmill walking. Applying the swing-phase perturbation during walking induced a greater increase in the muscle activation of hip abductors and ankle plantar flexors and a greater improvement in lateral balance control after the removal of perturbation force, in comparison to the results of the stance-phase perturbation condition (P ≤ 0.03). Participants also exhibited a greater reduction in overground step width and a greater improvement in overground walking speed after a session of treadmill walking practice with the swing-phase perturbation, compared with the result of the stance-phase perturbation (P = 0.01). These findings suggest that applying perturbation force to the pelvis during the swing phase of gait while walking may enhance muscle activities of hip abductors and improve lateral balance control in individuals with SCI. A walking practice with the swing-phase pelvis perturbation can be used as a rehabilitation approach to improve the control of lateral balance during walking in people with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume241
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Dynamic lateral balance
  • Locomotion
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Swing-phase pelvis perturbation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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