Leg skin temperature with body-weight-supported treadmill and tilt-table standing training after spinal cord injury

date: 2011 Jan;49(1):149-53. doi:
author: Cotie LM.
publication: Spinal Cord.
PubMed ID: 20479767




Randomized crossover.


Effects of body-weight-supported treadmill (BWST) and tilt-table standing (TTS) training on skin temperature and blood flow after spinal cord injury (SCI).


McMaster University, Canada.


Seven individuals with SCI participated in BWST and TTS training (3 times per week for 4 weeks, 4-week detraining between protocols). Skin temperature was measured before and after a single session of BWST or TTS, pre- and post-training. Leg blood flow was measured at rest pre- and post-training.


Resting skin temperature decreased at four sites after 4 weeks of BWST training in comparison with the pre-training. Four weeks of TTS training resulted in resting skin temperature decreases post-training at the right thigh only. Both BWST and TTS training resulted in altered reactivity of skin temperature at all sites except the right calf in response to a single session of BWST and TTS. Post-BWST training, a single session of BWST stimulated increased temperature at all sites, whereas after TTS training a single session of TTS resulted in temperature decreases at two of the six sites. No changes were observed in resting blood flow with either BWST or TTS training.


Increased resting skin temperature and decreased skin temperature reactivity have been linked to the development of pressure sores. BWST and TTS may stimulate different skin temperature responses and the impact on pressure sore development warrants further investigation.

The prevalence of joint contractures, pressure sores, painful shoulder, other pain, falls, and depression in the year after a severely disabling stroke

date: 2008 Dec;39(12):3329-34
author: Sackley C1, Brittle N, Patel S, Ellins J, Scott M, Wright C, Dewey ME.
publication: Stroke




Complications after stroke have been shown to impede rehabilitation, lead to poor functional outcome, and increase cost of care. This inception cohort study sought to investigate the prevalence of immobility-related complications during the first year after severely disabling stroke in relation to functional independence and place of residence.


Over a 7-month period, 600 stroke survivors were identified in the hospital through the Nottingham Stroke Register. Those who had a Barthel Index score <or=10 3 months poststroke and did not have a primary diagnosis of dementia were eligible to participate in the study. Assessments of complications were carried out at 3, 6, and 12 months poststroke.


Complications were recorded for 122 stroke survivors (mean age, 76 years; 57% male). Sixty-three (52%) had significant language impairment and of the remaining 59 who were able to complete an assessment of cognitive function, 10 (8%) were cognitively impaired. The numbers of reported complications over 12 months, in rank order, were falls, 89 (73%); contracture, 73 (60%); pain, 67 (55%); shoulder pain, 64 (52%); depression, 61 (50%); and pressure sores, 26 (22%). A negative correlation was found between Barthel Index score and the number of complications experienced (low scores on the Barthel Index correlate with a high number of complications). The highest relative percentages of complications were experienced by patients who were living in a nursing home at the time of their last completed assessment.


Immobility-related complications are very common in the first year after a severely disabling stroke. Patients who are more functionally dependent in self-care are likely to experience a greater number of complications than those who are less dependent. Trials of techniques to limit and prevent complication are required.

Load redistribution in variable position wheelchairs in people with spinal cord injury.

date: 2010;33(1):58-64
author: Sprigle S.
publication: J Spinal Cord Med.



Tilt and recline variable position seating systems are most commonly used for pressure relief to decrease potential for skin breakdown. This study provides quantitative information on the magnitudes of loading on the seat and back during phases of tilt, recline, and standing. The objective of this study was to show that the amount of force reduction at the seat would differ across these 3 methods within their respective clinical ranges.


Six able-bodied (AB) subjects (2 men, 4 women) with a median age of 25 years, and 10 subjects (8 men, 2 women) with spinal cord injury (SCI) with a median age of 35.5 years.


Subjects sat on a power wheelchair with Tekscan pressure mats placed underneath a foam backrest and cushion. Data were collected at 5 positions for each method. Order of position and method tested were randomized. Linear regressions were used to calculate the relationships of normalized seat and backrest forces to seat and backrest angles for each chair configuration.


Normalized seat loads had strong linear relationships with the angles of change in tilt, recline, and standing for both groups. Maximum decreases in seat load occurred at full standing and full recline in the SCI subjects and in full standing in the AB subjects. Loads linearly increased on the back during tilt and recline and linearly decreased during standing for both groups.


Standing and recline offered similar seat load reductions at their respective terminal positions. Standing also reduced loading on the backrest. Recognizing that each method had clinical benefits and drawbacks, the results of this study indicate that tilt, recline, and standing systems should be considered as a means of weight shifting for wheelchair users.

Factors affecting prescription and implementation of standing-frame programs by school-based physical therapists for children with impaired mobility

date: 2009 Fall;21(3):282-8. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181b175cd
author: Taylor K.
publication: Pediatr Phys Ther.




The purpose of this study was to investigate factors considered in the prescription and implementation of standingframe programs by schoolbased physical therapists.


A 20-item survey was mailed to 500 members of the APTA Pediatric Section and SchoolBased Special Interest Group. Survey questions addressed standingframe program prescription and perceived benefits.


Response rate was 77.2%. A majority of respondents rated ambulatory status for the prescription of standingframe programs and a child‘s specific needs in the selection of a specific standing frame as very important. Respondents identified multiple benefits with pressure relief rated very important most frequently. More than 50% of respondents indicated social and educational benefits are very important. A majority of respondents prescribed standingframe programs for 30-45 minutes daily.


Variation does exist, but the majority of schoolbased physical therapists agree on several key factors in the prescription and implementation of standingframe programs.

A systematic review of supported standing programs

date: 2010;3(3):197-213. doi: 10.3233/PRM-2010-0129.
author: Glickman LB1, Geigle PR, Paleg GS.
publication: J Pediatr Rehabil Med.


The routine clinical use of supported standing in hospitals, schools and homes currently exists. Questions arise as to the nature of the evidence used to justify this practice. This systematic review investigated the available evidence underlying supported standing use based on the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) Levels of Evidence framework.


The database search included MEDLINE, CINAHL, GoogleScholar, HighWire Press, PEDro, Cochrane Library databases, and APTAs Hooked on Evidence from January 1980 to October 2009 for studies that included supported standing devices for individuals of all ages, with a neuromuscular diagnosis. We identified 112 unique studies from which 39 met the inclusion criteria, 29 with adult and 10 with pediatric participants. In each group of studies were user and therapist survey responses in addition to results of clinical interventions.


The results are organized and reported by The International Classification of Function (ICF) framework in the following categories: b4: Functions of the cardiovascular, haematological, immunological, and respiratory systems; b5: Functions of the digestive, metabolic, and endocrine systems; b7: Neuromusculoskeletal and movement related functions; Combination of d4: Mobility, d8: Major life areas and Other activity and participation. The peer review journal studies mainly explored using supported standers for improving bone mineral density (BMD), cardiopulmonary function, muscle strength/function, and range of motion (ROM). The data were moderately strong for the use of supported standing for BMD increase, showed some support for decreasing hypertonicity (including spasticity) and improving ROM, and were inconclusive for other benefits of using supported standers for children and adults with neuromuscular disorders. The addition of whole body vibration (WBV) to supported standing activities appeared a promising trend but empirical data were inconclusive. The survey data from physical therapists (PTs) and participant users attributed numerous improved outcomes to supported standing: ROM, bowel/bladder, psychological, hypertonicity and pressure relief/bedsores. BMD was not a reported benefit according to the user group.


There exists a need for empirical mechanistic evidence to guide clinical supported standing programs across practice settings and with various-aged participants, particularly when considering a life-span approach to practice.

Complications of osteotomies in severe cerebral palsy.

date: 03/01/1999
author: Stasikelis PJ, Lee DD, Sullivan CM.
publication: J Pediatr Orthop. 1999 Mar-Apr;19(2):207-10.
pubmed_ID: 10088690

Seventy-nine consecutive children with cerebral palsy who underwent osteotomies about the hip for subluxation or dislocation were studied retrospectively to determine risk factors that would correlate with postoperative complications of death, fracture, or decubitus ulcer. Except for the three patients who died, all of the children had > or = 1 year of follow-up. Twenty (25%) patients had at least one complication. Three children died; one at 1 week, one at 2 weeks, and one at 5 months after surgery. Sixteen patients sustained 25 fractures. All were managed with cast or splint immobilization in the clinic. Five patients developed decubitus ulcers requiring > or = 2 weeks of local care, but none required skin grafts or flaps. Complications occurred in 13 (68%) of 19 children with gastrostomies or tracheostomies but in only seven (12%) of the remaining 60 children. Only one (8%) of 13 ambulatory patients had a complication compared with 19 (29%) of 66 nonambulatory patients. In conclusion, ambulatory function correlates well with the risk of complications after osteotomies. A nonambulatory patient with a gastrostomy or tracheostomy is at even greater risk. Fortunately the fractures and ulcers observed in this series healed uneventfully with no operative intervention.

New assistive technology for passive standing.

date: 03/01/1999
author: Gear AJ, Suber F, Neal JG, Nguyen WD, Edlich RF.
publication: J Burn Care Rehabil. 1999 Mar-Apr;20(2):164-9.
pubmed_ID: 10188115

The anesthetic skin of patients with spinal cord injuries makes these patients a high-risk population for burn injuries. Innovations in rehabilitation engineering can now provide the disabled with mechanical devices that allow for passive standing. Passive standing has been shown to counteract many of the effects of chronic immobilization and spinal cord injury, including bone demineralization, urinary calculi, cardiovascular instability, and reduced joint range of motion and muscular tone. This article will describe several unique assistive devices that allow for passive standing and an improvement in daily living for people with disabilities.

Pressure sore prevention for the wheelchair-bound spinal injury patient.

date: 12/18/1980
author: Ferguson-Pell MW, Wilkie IC, Reswick JB, Barbenel JC.
publication: Paraplegia. 1980 Feb;18(1):42-51.
pubmed_ID: 7375126

The concept of a wheelchair cushion fitting clinic for the prevention of pressure sores is reviewed in the light of recent estimates of the cost of pressure sores in the U.K. A method for measuring the pressure beneath the ischial tuberosities is discussed and techniques for measuring a patient’s habitual exercise frequency and seated posture are described. Results from the records of 600 spinal injury patients including Rancho Los Amigos Hospital are reported and used to demonstrate the importance of low pressure beneath the ischial tuberosities as an indicator of wheelchair cushion suitability.

Pressure ulcers in veterans with spinal cord injury: a retrospective study.

date: 10/01/2003
author: Garber SL, Rintala DH.
publication: J Rehabil Res Dev. 2003 Sep-Oct;40(5):433-41.
pubmed_ID: 15080228

Pressure ulcers are a major complication of spinal cord injury (SCI) and have a significant effect on general health and quality of life. The objectives of this retrospective chart review were to determine prevalence, duration, and severity of pressure ulcers in veterans with SCI and to identify predictors of (1) outcome in terms of healing without surgery, not healing, or referral for surgery; (2) number of visits veterans made to the SCI outpatient clinic or received from home care services for pressure ulcer treatment; and (3) number of hospital admissions and days hospitalized for pressure ulcer treatment. From a sampling frame of 553 veterans on the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center SCI roster, 215 (39%) were reported to have visited the clinic or received home care for pressure ulcers (ICD-9 code 707.0 = decubitus, any site) during the 3 years studied (1997, 1998, and 1999). From this sample, 102 veterans met the inclusion criteria for further analyses, 56% of whom had paraplegia. The duration of ulcers varied greatly from 1 week to the entire 3-year time-frame. Overall, Stage IV pressure ulcers were the most prevalent as the worst ulcer documented. Number and severity of ulcers predicted outcome and healthcare utilization. This study illustrates the magnitude of the pressure ulcer problem among veterans with SCI living in the community. Reducing the prevalence of pressure ulcers among veterans with SCI will have a significant impact on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ financial and social resources. Innovative approaches are needed to reduce pressure ulcer risk in veterans with SCI.