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Exoskeleton gait training after spinal cord injury: An exploratory study on secondary health conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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  • Carsten Bach Baunsgaard
  • Ulla Vig Nissen
  • Anne Katrin Brust
  • Angela Frotzler
  • Cornelia Ribeill
  • Yorck-Bernhard Kalke
  • Natacha León
  • Belén Gómez
  • Kersti Samuelsson
  • Wolfram Antepohl
  • Ulrika Holmström
  • Niklas Marklund
  • Thomas Glott
  • Arve Opheim
  • Jesus Benito Penalva
  • Narda Murillo
  • Janneke Nachtegaal
  • Willemijn Faber
  • Fin Biering-Sørensen
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OBJECTIVE: To explore changes in pain, spasticity, range of motion, activities of daily living, bowel and lower urinary tract function and quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injury following robotic exoskeleton gait training.

DESIGN: Prospective, observational, open-label multicentre study.

METHODS: Three training sessions per week for 8 weeks using an Ekso™ GT robotic exoskeleton (EKSO Bionics). Included were individuals with recent (<1 year) or chronic (>1 year) injury, paraplegia and tetraplegia, complete and incomplete injury, men and women.

RESULTS: Fifty-two participants completed the training protocol. Pain was reported by 52% of participants during the week prior to training and 17% during training, but no change occurred longitudinally. Spasticity decreased after a training session compared with before the training session (p <0.001), but not longitudinally. Chronically injured participants increased Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM III) from 73 to 74 (p = 0.008) and improved life satisfaction (p = 0.036) over 8 weeks of training. Recently injured participants increased SCIM III from 62 to 70 (p < 0.001), but no significant change occurred in life satisfaction. Range of motion, bowel and lower urinary function did not change over time.

CONCLUSION: Training seemed not to provoke new pain. Spasticity decreased after a single training session. SCIM III and quality of life increased longitudinally for subsets of participants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)806-813
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Exercise Therapy/methods, Exoskeleton Device/statistics & numerical data, Female, Gait/physiology, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Quality of Life/psychology, Spinal Cord Injuries/rehabilitation, Young Adult

ID: 56113639