Kinetic analysis of supine stepping for early rehabilitation of walking

Juan Fang, Sujay Galen, Aleksandra Vuckovic, Bernard A Conway, Kenneth J Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In order to promote gait restoration in patients who cannot maintain an upright position in the early post-injury phase, a Gait Orthosis for Early Rehabilitation was proposed for supine stepping. Although supine stepping can generate lower-limb joint trajectories which are close to normal gait, the inter-segmental dynamics of supine stepping are believed to be different from those of upright walking. Furthermore, training in a supine position requires a certain loading on the foot to mimic the ground reaction forces, where different loading amplitudes influence the joint dynamics. This work analysed the kinetics of supine stepping with variable loading and investigated structural modifications for the Gait Orthosis for Early Rehabilitation system to address this kinetic difference. Three able-bodied subjects walked overground while their walking performance was recorded. Based on the experimental data, a leg-linkage model was developed to simulate the dynamics of upright walking. This model was then rotated by 90° with different foot loadings to investigate the kinetics of supine stepping. Compared to upright walking, supine stepping had a large kinetic difference at the hip joint due to the supine leg position. The ankle joint during supine stepping was sensitive to the force amplitude simulated on the foot. Thus, the Gait Orthosis for Early Rehabilitation system requires a leg frame to compensate the position change and a shoe platform to activate the leg muscles, especially at the ankle joint. This study provided important structural information for the further development of the Gait Orthosis for Early Rehabilitation system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-464
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2014


  • kinetics
  • supine stepping
  • gait analysis


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