Weight bearing through lower limbs in a standing frame with and without arm support and low-magnitude whole-body vibration in men and women with complete motor paraplegia

Kathie A. Bernhardt, Lisa A. Beck, Jeffry L. Lamb, Kenton R. Kaufman, Shreyasee Amin, Lisa Ann Wuermser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-308
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012



  • Ground Reaction Forces
  • Paraplegia
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Standing Frame
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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