THE BIOMECHANICS OF SWING-THROUGH GAIT:
This study was completed at UBC through a MITACS Accelerate student research internship with the partner organization, SideStix.
Why we did this study?
People who use forearm crutches often experience overuse injuries due to poor design and lack of innovation. SideStix has made innovative crutch designs that aim to make people more comfortable and help to reduce injuries. We wanted to understand whether these new crutch designs changed how force is applied during walking compared to traditional crutches.
Where was this study conducted?
This study was conducted in the Human Locomotion Lab at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre at ICORD in Vancouver.
How was this study completed?
Each participant was taught how to use crutches. Three crutches were used: SideStix Boundless, Discovery, and a traditional forearm crutch. Each participant walked over force measuring plates in the floor several times with each crutch. We then used the data to compare the three crutches.
Who participated in this study?
13 healthy non-disabled people participated in this study.
What were the significant findings of this study?
The Boundless crutch reduced strain on arms (how force is spread out over time).
The Boundless crutch helped reduce forces up and down (vertically) as well as forward/backward (braking).
The Boundless crutch increased propulsive force and (extra spring forward) which conserve energy when moving forward.
The Discovery crutch did not perform better than the traditional crutch. (Follow-up research will focus on the ergonomic angles of the forearm assembly.)
What might these results mean for crutch users?
An average crutch user walks 1-2 km per day. Using Sidestix can reduce braking forces by 17%, and increase the spring to move forward by 8% for each step. This can add up and make a big difference to a crutch walker!
SideStix Boundless has an impact on reducing strain to the arms, and could help with conserving energy throughout the day. This can lead to a reduction of pain and increase in comfort to the user.
What’s the future for SideStix?
– Developing more evidence for how it impacts wrist, elbow and shoulder function.
– Learn new ideas for improving SideStix even more!
– Creating a product that makes a difference to people lives, enabling them to “Go Far”.
The above research data has been interpreted by SideStix. The Power Point presentation that follows was put together for public presentation by the researchers.