Objective: To investigate the immediate effect of four-wheeled- walker(rollator)walking on lower-limb muscle activity and trunk-sway in healthy subjects.
Methods: In this cross-sectional design electromyographic (EMG) data was collected in six lower-limb muscle groups and trunk-sway was measured as peak-to-peak angular displacement of the centre-of-mass (level L2/3) in the sagittal and frontal-planes using the SwayStar balance system. 19 subjects walked at self-selected speed firstly without a rollator then in randomised order 1. with rollator 2. with rollator with increased weight-bearing.
Results: Rollator-walking caused statistically significant reductions in EMG activity in lower-limb muscle groups and effect-sizes were medium to large. Increased weight-bearing increased the effect. Trunk-sway in the sagittal and frontal-planes showed no statistically significant difference between conditions.
Conclusion: Rollator-walking reduces lower-limb muscle activity but trunk-sway remains unchanged as stability is likely gained through forces generated by the upper-limbs. Short-term stability is gained but the long-term effect is unclear and requires investigation.
Keywords: Assistive devices; EMG; Rollator; Trunk stability; Wheeled-walker.
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