Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the proportion of body weight borne through the lower limbs in persons with complete motor paraplegia using a standing frame, with and without the support of their arms. We also examined the effect of low-magnitude whole-body vibration on loads borne by the lower limbs.
Design: Vertical ground reaction forces (GRFs) were measured in 11 participants (six men and five women) with paraplegia of traumatic origin (injury level T3-T12) standing on a low-magnitude vibrating plate using a standing frame. GRFs were measured in four conditions: (1) no vibration with arms on standing frame tray, (2) no vibration with arms at side, (3) vibration with arms on tray, and (4) vibration with arms at side.
Results: GRF with arms on tray, without vibration, was 0.76 ± 0.07 body weight. With arms at the side, GRF increased to 0.85 ± 0.12 body weight. With vibration, mean GRF did not significantly differ from no-vibration conditions for either arm positions. Oscillation of GRF with vibration was significantly different from no-vibration conditions (P < 0.001) but similar in both arm positions.
Conclusions: Men and women with paraplegia using a standing frame bear most of their weight through their lower limbs. Supporting their arms on the tray reduces the GRF by approximately 10% body weight. Low-magnitude vibration provided additional oscillation of the load-bearing forces and was proportionally similar regardless of arm position.