Objective: To investigate the feasibility of conducting exoskeleton-assisted gait training (EGT) and the effects of EGT on gait, metabolic expenditure, and physical function in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: Single-group pilot study. Setting: Research laboratory in a rehabilitation hospital. Participants: Individuals with MS (N=10; mean age, 54.3±12.4y) and Expanded Disability Status Scale 6.0-7.5. Interventions: All participants completed up to 15 sessions of EGT. Main Outcome Measures: Timed 25-foot walk test at self-selected and fast speed, 6-minute walk test, metabolic expenditure of walking and timed Up and Go test were assessed during walking without the exoskeleton at baseline and immediate post training. Results: All participants tolerated the training intensity and completed training without adverse events. After training, gait speed was improved and metabolic expenditure was reduced significantly during the timed 25-foot walk test at self-selected speed. Conclusions: EGT is not only feasible but may also improve gait efficiency for persons with MS. Our observed improvement in gait speed was associated with reduced metabolic expenditure, which was likely because of improved neuromotor coordination. Further studies are required to investigate the effectiveness and integration of EGT in the continuum of MS rehabilitation.
- Exoskeleton device
- Multiple sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation