Knee Orthosis with Variable Stiffness and Damping that Simulates Hemiparetic Gait

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Conference Proceeding

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Individuals with unilateral stroke have neuromuscular weakness or paralysis on one side of the body caused by some muscles disengaging and others overexciting. Hyperextension of the knee joint and complete lack of plantar flexion of the ankle joint are common symptoms of stroke. This paper focuses on the creation and implementation of a small, lightweight, and adjustable orthotic device to be positioned around the knee of an able-bodied person to simulate hemiparetic gait. Force and range of motion data from able-bodied subjects fitted with the orthosis, inducing hemiparetic gait, was collected using the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation ENvironment (CAREN) system. The four parameters that the design focused on are damping, catch, hysteresis, and stiffness. The main goal of the project was to discern whether this device could be utilized as a viable research instrument to simulate hemiparetic gait. It was hypothesized that the device has the potential to be utilized in the future as a rehabilitation device for people with stroke since it has been designed to induce larger knee flexion as an after effect. A comparison between how the dominant leg was affected by the orthosis and how the non-dominant leg was affected was investigated as well. The results show that the device affected the velocities, knee angles, and force profiles of the subject's gait.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

2016 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), p. 2218-2221