Partial weight-bearing gait using conventional assistive devices

James W. Youdas, Brian J. Kotajarvi, Denny J. Padgett, Kenton R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if subjects can offload the right lower extremity to a targeted amount of weight bearing using assistive devices. Design: Case series. Setting: Motion analysis laboratory. Participants: Ten healthy subjects (5 men, 5 women) without lower-extremity injury and minimal experience using ambulatory aids. Interventions: Before data collection subjects were trained by a physical therapist to offload the right lower extremity by 50% by using an assistive device and a bathroom scale for feedback on weight reduction. Main Outcome Measures: Vertical ground reaction force was measured by using forceplates while subjects walked at a self-selected speed by using a 3-point partial weight-bearing (PWB) gait pattern with axillary crutches, forearm crutches, and wheeled walker. We also measured vertical ground reaction force by using a single-point cane. Results: Each gait aid significantly reduced the right lower-extremity peak vertical ground reaction force. Participants were able to achieve the target of approximately 50% weight reduction with the axillary (50% reduction) and forearm (56% reduction) crutches. The wheeled walker resulted in a peak vertical load of 64% of body weight, which was in excess of the target load. A single-point cane produced a peak vertical load of 76% of body weight. Conclusions: By using a bathroom scale, healthy subjects could be trained to achieve a target goal of 50% PWB with axillary and forearm crutches. A wheeled walker resulted in weight bearing greater than the target of 50% of body weight. Subjects were able to offload the right lower extremity by about 25% of body weight by using a single-point cane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-398
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Assistive devices
  • Biomechanics
  • Gait
  • Kinetics
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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