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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 59-73
http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/ABB-2012-0069

A Convertible Spinal Orthosis for Controlled Torso Rigidity

Nicole I. Kern,1 Ronald J. Triolo,2,3,4 Rudi Kobetic,5 Musa Audu,5,6 and Roger D. Quinn1

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
2Department of Orthopaedics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
3MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA
4Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA
5FES Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA
6Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A traditional spinal orthosis in conjunction with a hip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis (HKAFO) improves posture in persons with paraplegia during standing and walking. It also limits the wearer's range of motion when worn during other activities, such as vehicle transfer or sitting and reaching for objects. In order to regain full torso flexibility the user would need to remove the spinal orthosis which can be arduous and time consuming. A Convertible Spinal Orthosis (CSO) that allows the user to switch between Locked rigid torso support and Unlocked free motion has been designed, fabricated and tested. It shows promise for increasing functionality, wear time and subject comfort. Analysis of movement has been performed with an able-bodied and a paraplegic subject wearing a rigid spinal orthosis, the CSO in both states, and without any bracing. Configuration state had the most impact on lateral bending. Mean values for the paraplegic subject of 27°, 38°, 48°, and 48° and for the able-bodied subject of 22°, 26°, 48°, and 45° were found for lateral bending of the upper torso relative to the thighs in the Rigid, Locked, Unlocked, and No-Brace states, respectively.