Dynamic Model of the Upper Extremities for Rehabilitation Analysis of Crutch-Assisted Gait in Children with Myelomeningocele

Brooke Slavens, MS1, Peter Sturm, MD1,2, and Gerald Harris, PhD1,2
1Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Engineering Center, Milwaukee, WI
2Shriners Hospitals for Children, Chicago, IL


Rehabilitation and ambulatory training of children with myelomeningocele (MM) is impeded by a lack of quantitative information. Current models for evaluation of upper extremity dynamics are limited. Therefore, a three-dimensional (3-D) biomechanical model of the upper extremities was developed for assessment of Lofstrand crutch-assisted gait in children with MM. This model accurately tracks the joint angles of the trunk, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The model was applied to ten children with MM while performing two common crutch-assisted ambulatory patterns: 1) reciprocal gait pattern and 2) swing-through gait pattern. Instrumented Lofstrand crutches measured reaction forces while walking. Analysis indicates that the model is suitable for quantifying upper extremity dynamics during crutch-assisted gait. It is hoped that the study findings may advance rehabilitation, treatment monitoring, and crutch prescription.


Lofstrand crutches, myelomeningocele (MM), kinematics, upper extremity, motion analysis


This work was funded through awards from The Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Engineering Center (OREC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago, IL.

Author Contact Information

Brooke Slavens, MS
Marquette University
Academic Support Facility, Suite 105
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Office Phone: (414) 805-7456
EMAIL: brooke.slavens@marquette.edu


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