Background and purpose: Many individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) have the potential to walk. The effectiveness of using a treadmill for gait training for these patients has been substantiated in the literature. This case series describes the effectiveness of incorporating gait training on a treadmill for two individuals with an incomplete SCI. Case Description: The treatments of two males each with an incomplete paraplegia were described. Subject 1 was 40 years old and was 14 months post injury at the time of the study. He had a T6 incomplete spinal cord injury classified as a D on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale and neurological classification standards. Subject 2 was 48 years old and was 10 months post injury. He had a T8 incomplete spinal cord injury classified as ASIA C. Intervention: Both subjects participated in gait training for a maximum of 10 minutes on a motorized treadmill without elevation at a comfortable walking speed three days a week for four weeks as an adjunct to a conventional physiotherapy programme.Results: An increase in step length, stride length, cadence, and comfortable walking speed were noted in both subjects. Both subjects improved their walking level as measured by the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI II) and functional independence as measured by Spinal Cord Independent Measure (SCIM II). Conclusion: Gait training on a treadmill can improve gait parameters and functional independence in patients with incomplete paraplegia. Further research is needed to improve the generalizability of these findings and to identify which patients might benefit most from treadmill training.
Anwer S, Equebal A, Kumar R. Effect of Treadmill Training on Gait and Functional Independence in Patients with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: A Case Series. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2012 Jul 01;10(3), Article 8.