The use of driven gait orthosis (DGO) has drawn attention in gait rehabilitation for patients after central nervous system (CNS) lesions. By imposing a passive locomotor-like kinematic pattern, the neural mechanisms responsible for locomotion can be activated as in a normal gait. To further enhance this activity, discussions on possible intervention are necessary. Given the possible functional linkages between the upper and lower limbs, we investigated in healthy subjects the degree of modification in the lower limb muscles during DGO-induced passive gait by the addition of swing movement in the upper extremity. The results clearly showed that muscle activity in the ankle dorsiflexor TA muscle was significantly enhanced when the passive locomotor-like movement was accompanied by arm swing movement. The modifications in the TA activity were not a general increase through the stride cycles, but were observed under particular phases as in normal gaits. Voluntary effort to swing the arms may have certain effects on the modification of the muscle activity. The results provide clinical implications regarding the usefulness of voluntary arm swing movement as a possible intervention in passive gait training using DGO, since ordinary gait training using DGO does not induce spontaneous arm swing movement despite its known influence on the lower limb movement.
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