Ankle proprioception during gait in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury.

TitleAnkle proprioception during gait in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuteursDambreville, C, de Fontenay, BPairot, Blanchette, AK, Roy, J-S, Mercier, C, Bouyer, LJ
JournalPhysiol Rep
Date Published2019 12
KeywordsAdult, Ankle, Female, Foot Orthoses, Gait, Humans, Male, Neurologic Examination, Proprioception, Robotics, Sensory Thresholds, Spinal Cord Injuries

INTRODUCTION: Proprioception is known to be affected after a spinal cord injury (SCI). However, it is currently assessed during simple tasks that do not reflect activities of daily living. To better understand how proprioception affects movement, assessing it during a functional sensorimotor task such as walking is therefore of primary importance. Therefore, the objectives of this study were as follows: (a) measure the protocol reliability of a new robotic test in nondisabled controls; (b) evaluate the effect nonlesion-related factors such as sex, age, pain, and gait speed on ankle proprioception; and (c) assess ankle proprioception during walking in individuals with SCI.

METHODS: In the current study, ankle proprioception was assessed during gait in individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI; n = 15) using an electrohydraulic robotized ankle-foot orthosis (rAFO). Ankle proprioceptive threshold was quantified as the participants' ability to detect torque perturbations of varied amplitude applied during swing by the rAFO. In addition, test-retest reliability and the potential effect of nonlesion-related factors (sex, age, pain, and gait speed) were evaluated in nondisabled (ND; n = 65) participants.

RESULTS: During gait, individuals with iSCI had a 53% poorer proprioceptive threshold than ND controls (p < .05). Test-retest reliability was good (ICC = 0.78), and only gait speed affected proprioceptive threshold (p = .018).

CONCLUSION: This study is the first to show that ankle proprioception assessed during gait is impaired in individuals with an iSCI. The developed test can now be used to better characterize proprioception in population with other neurological conditions and has potential to maximize functional recovery during gait training in those populations.

Alternate JournalPhysiol Rep
PubMed ID31883208
PubMed Central IDPMC6934873
Grant ListMOP-125869 / / CIHR / Canada