The physiological cost index of walking with an isocentric reciprocating gait orthosis among patients with T12- L1spinal cord injury

Kam Lun Leung, Admond F.Y. Wong, Eunice C.W. Wong, Stephen W. Hutchins

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the Physiological Cost Index of walking with a reciprocating gait orthosis to that of walking with bilateral knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) by subjects with paraplegia resulting from T12- L1spinal cord lesions. Methodology: Six chronic paraplegic subjects who had T12- L1spinal cord lesions and who previously wore bilateral KAFOs were recruited. Each subject was fitted with an isocentric reciprocating gait orthosis (IRGO) and received a standardized training program. Subjects were then asked to walk using the two orthotic devices along a 40 m rectangular pathway at a speed that was comfortable for them. The walking speed was measured using a stop watch, and a Polar Heart Rate Monitor was used to measure the heart rate of the subjects. The Physiological Cost Index (PCI) was calculated for comparison. Results: Ambulation using the IRGO (10.46 +/- 2.00 m/min) was significantly faster (p = 0.009) than ambulation using the bilateral KAFOs (5.51 +/- 4.30 m/min). The PCI demonstrated when walking with the IRGO (2.85 +/- 0.77 beats/m) was significantly lower (p = 0.0306) than that of the bilateral KAFOs (6.77 +/- 3.28 beats/m). Conclusion: Paraplegic patients with T12- L1spinal cord lesions walk faster and more efficiently using the isocentric reciprocating gait orthosis as compared to using the bilateral KAFOs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2009


  • Energy consumption
  • Gait
  • IRGO
  • Paraplegia
  • Physiological cost index
  • Reciprocating gait orthosis
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation

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