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J Burn Care Rehabil. 2000 May-Jun;21(3):259-67; discussion 258.

Gait variables of patients after lower extremity burn injuries.

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  • 1William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York Weill Cornell Center, USA.


Functional ambulation is an expected outcome of physical therapy after burn injuries on the lower extremities. The purpose of this study was to document temporal and spatial gait parameters of adult patients with the use of the GAITRite system (CIR Systems Inc, Clifton, NJ) after the patients were burned on their lower extremities and to compare these results with previous data reported for normal subjects. Twenty-five adults with lower extremity burns (19 men and 6 women; mean age, 35.6+/-8.3 years) were evaluated within 5 days of discharge from an acute care facility. The GAITRite system, which consists of an electronic walkway that contains 6 sensor pads encapsulated in a rolled-up carpet, was used to collect temporal and spatial variables. The patients walked at their preferred rate of ambulation and completed 2 passes; the 2 passes were then averaged by the software to determine the patients' gait parameters. A 2-tailed t test was used for comparison of the mean values for the patients and the previously published data. The results indicated that for both men and women, cycle time and base of support were significantly higher (P < or = .01) in the patients with burn injuries than in normal subjects. For men, all of the remaining parameters were significantly lower (P < or = .01) in the patients with burns except stride length, which was not significantly different (P > .05). For women, stance time as a percentage of the gait cycle and cadence, velocity, step length, and stride length, were all significantly lower (P < or = .01) in the patients with burn injuries, whereas double support as a percentage of the gait cycle was not significantly different (P > .05) between the 2 groups. These results indicate that immediately after an acute care hospitalization, patients with lower extremity burns have significantly different gait patterns than gender-and age-matched normal subjects. Future studies are necessary to determine whether these impairments in gait limit the functional abilities of a patient.

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