Locomotor and resistance training restore walking in an elderly person with a chronic incomplete spinal cord injury

Ashraf S. Gorgey, Hunter Poarch, Joshua Miller, Teodoro Castillo, David R. Gater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effects of 10~weeks of locomotor training (LT) using body weight supported (BWS) treadmill training and resistance training (RT) programs on over-ground walking recovery, walking speed and distance, functional independent measure (FIM), walking index for spinal cord injury (WISCI) and Berg Balance Score in an elderly person with an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: A 66 year-old-male with a chronic incomplete SCI at C5/C6 ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) D was admitted for rehabilitation following posterior laminectomy at L3-L5. The participant was a short distance ambulator relying primarily on his power wheelchair for mobility. He completed 10~weeks of LT using manual BWS treadmill twice weekly and RT for knee extensor muscle groups twice a week. A weekly test of the over-ground distance and speed were recoded over the course of the 10~weeks. Additionally, the participant underwent a three month evaluation after discharge. Results: The 10-week program resulted in independent use of bilateral Canadian crutches to ambulate for 200 feet and increased over-ground walking speed. The FIM score increased from 3 to 6 and Berg balance score increased from 11 to 41. The WISCI score increased from 1 to 10. Three months post-discharge, the participant maintained his functional independency in sit to stand activity and over-ground walking. Conclusion: A combined program of LT and RT could enhance walking recovery in a person with a long-term SCI. The findings suggest that twice a week of LT can promote motor recovery if it is accompanied with an approach that effectively loads the paralyzed lower extremities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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