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GaitAssist: A Novel Technology to Mitigate Scissor Gait in Patients with Cerebral Palsy

Team Members:
  • Yu Xu
  • Kaiyuan Wang
  • Ana Ainechi
  • Michael Ruiz
  • Andie Seabrooke
  • Pooja Nair
  • Najwa Faqih
  • Alexander Hoon, MD, MPH
  • Tara Johnson, MD
  • Brittany DeCroes, PT, DPT
  • Robert Allen, PE, PhD


Scissor gait is one of the major challenges affecting mobility in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP), which is a neurological abnormality accompanied by many movement disorders. Scissor gait is characterized by the crossing of the legs in a scissor-like movement during walking. The symptoms of scissor gait include crouching, severe adduction of the legs, and hitting of the knees and thighs. In the United States alone it is estimated that nearly 80,000 individuals with CP are affected by scissor gait.

We developed a novel orthosis, called GaitAssist. GaitAssist utilizes two connected blocks that are placed in between the thighs as a physical barrier to separate the legs. The blocks are strapped onto each thigh, and connected by a metallic bolt so the two blocks can easily slide along each other during the gait cycle.

To validate the two-block design in terms of separating the legs and improvement of balance, we planned a clinical trial with ten patients with GMFCS levels 1-3. This study is underway and we currently have processed quantitative data for the first two patients. Both patients show significant increase in base of support. Both patients’ swing phase percentage was closer to the percentage seen in a typical gait cycle with GaitAssist, indicating improved posture and stability.

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