2006 Conference General Sessions

AQUATIC GAIT TRAINING: USING UNDERWATER TREADMILL FOR INDIVIDUAL? WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES

 

 

 

Presenter(s)
Taeyou Jung
The Center of Achievement

California State University, Northridge

18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge CA 91330-8287

Day Phone: 818-677-2182
Email: taeyou.jung@csun.edu

Mobility training often becomes a priority in the long-term rehabilitation among individuals with physical disabilities. Gait training is closely related to enhancing their independence and functionality in activities of daily living. Treadmill-based gait training has been found to be effective in reeducating walking in people with physical disabilities, such as stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury (Trimble, Kukulka, & Behrman, 1998; Kosak & Reding, 2000). In combination with partial weight bearing system, the treadmill has shown to be more effective than conventional overground gait training (Hesse, Konrad, & Uhlenbrock, 1999; Youdas, Kotajarvi, Padgett, & Kaufman, 2005; Wilson & Swaboda, 2002). Less weight bearing allows more physiological movement strategies by minimizing weight bearing demands, providing postural support and promoting coordination of the lower extremities.

Using underwater treadmill can help many people with physical disabilities practice walking independently in water. The partial weight bearing, due to buoyancy, can be achieved by performing gait training in water (Templeton, Booth, & O’Kelly, 1996; Johnson, 1988; Dumas & Francesconi, 2001). In addition, aquatic gait training has many other physiological and psychological benefits, including assisted balance, decreased spastic response, reduced fear of falling, and sense of independence. However, depending on the depth of water, underwater walking can become more challenging as it imposes more demands on balance and coordination systems to cope with resistance from water viscosity and turbulence from body movement through the water (Dumas et al., 2001). Using aquatic treadmill can eliminate some of the physiological limitations of pool walking, as well as space limitation. There have been many studies that evaluated the benefits of aquatic exercises in various orthopedic and neuromuscular disorders (Driver, O’Connor, Lox, & Rees, 2004; Templeton et al., 1996; Dumas et al., 2001). But, few have analyzed movement patterns of underwater walking or aquatic treadmill walking.

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce aquatic treadmill-based gait training and
provide better understanding of movement patterns during underwater treadmill walking.
A biomechanical research project will be presented to provide scientific understanding of

Aquatic treadmill walking. In the study, motion analysis system was used to investigate how individuals with and without physical disabilities walk on underwater treadmill, as compared to overground treadmill. Total 10 people with stroke and 10 people without stroke participated in the study. All participants were asked to walk at their self-selected comfortable speed on overground treadmill. The same speed was applied to underwater treadmill walking when they walked on aquatic treadmill, in order to compare gait parameters between the two walking modes. Gait kinematics and spatiotemporal gait variables were compared. The study findings can be utilized to provide effective gait training with more scientific evidences in clinical rehabilitation.

References
Driver, S., O’Connor, J., Lox, C., & Rees, K. (2004). Evaluation of an aquatics program on fitness parameters of individuals with a brain injury. Brain Inj., 18, 847-859.
Dumas, I-I. & Francesconi, S. (2001). Aquatic therapy in pediatrics: annotated bibliography. Phys.Occup.Ther.Pediatr., 20, 63-78.
Hesse, S., Konrad, M., & Uhlenbrock, D. (1999). Treadmill walking with partial body weight support versus floor walking in hemiparetic subjects. Arch.Phys.Med.Rehabil., 80, 421-427.
Johnson, C. R. (1988). Aquatic therapy for an ALS patient. Am.J.Occup.Ther., 42,
115-120.
Kosak, M. C. & Reding, M. J. (2000). Comparison of partial body weight- supported treadmill gait training versus aggressive bracing assisted walking post stroke. Neuroreha bit Neural Repair, 14, 13-19.
Templeton, M. S., Booth, D. L., & O’Kelly, W. D. (1996). Effects of aquatic therapy on joint flexibility and functional ability in subjects with rheumatic disease. J. Orthop. Sports Phys.Ther., 23, 376-381.
Trimble, M. H., Kukulka, C. G., & Behrman, A. L. (1998). The effect of treadmill gait training on low-frequency depression of the soleus H-reflex: comparison of a spinal cord injured man to normal subjects. NeuroscLLett., 246, 186-188.
Wilson, D. J. & Swaboda, J. L. (2002). Partial weight-bearing gait retraining for persons following traumatic brain injury: preliminary report and proposed assessment scale. Brain Inj., 16, 259-268.
Youdas, J. W., Kotajarvi, B. J., Padgett, D. J., & Kaufman, K. R. (2005). Partial weight-bearing gait using conventional assistive devices. Arch.Phys.Med.Rehabit, 86, 394-398.


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