The function of the reciprocal link in paraplegic orthotic gait

Philippa Dall, Malcolm Granat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hip-knee-ankle-foot orthoses (HKAFOs) are routinely used to allow people with thoracic level paraplegia to walk. However, many users give up the orthoses because of fatigue or inconvenience of use. Therefore, much research is focused
on the design of orthoses that are easier to use and that provide a more energy-efficient gait. One of the main differences between HKAFO designs for these users is the design of hip joints, with one major group being those with reciprocally
linked hip joints. If improvements are to be made to these features, the specific benefits and problems encountered in their use must be understood. The purpose of this review is to highlight the qualitative and quantitative evidence for
mechanical function of the reciprocal link in HKAFOs used for walking by individuals with thoracic level paraplegia.
A review of the function and importance of a mechanical link between the hip joints of an HKAFO in qualitative terms highlights the fact that text on the function of the linkage is often sketchy and at times contradictory. At the same time, the importance placed on the function of the reciprocal link during the swing phase of gait is almost uniformly great. Seven published papers have assessed the function of the reciprocal linkage in a quantitative manner. The information reported in all these papers questions the importance placed on the reciprocal action during swing phase. However, support is provided for the underemphasized function of preventing bilateral hip collapse during the double support phases of gait.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • literature review
  • reciprocating gait orthosis
  • orthosis
  • gaitr
  • paraplegia


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