Scissor Gait is a form of gait that is most common in people with cerebral palsy. It is presented by knees and thighs hitting, or sometimes even crossing, in a scissors-like movement because of which the person has difficulty walking. The beneficiary here, is a 5 year old girl Shrushti, who has diplegic cerebral palsy. Both her legs are weak along with a weak upper thrust. She cannot walk or stand without support. She is given physiotherapy treatment twice a week where she is made to walk with the help of a front-wheeled walker. The physiotherapist has to hold her from behind and guide her legs by parting them with every step that she takes. This is a very tiring process for both, Shrushti and the physiotherapist. Moreover, it is not convenient for Shrushti to practice walking like this everyday. On her own, she takes support of objects around and walks sideways, falling a lot of times.
It is highly recommended that Shrushti walk and exercise regularly to keep her muscles active. But it is difficult for her to do it on her own. She needs a device that will make her walk on her own independently.
The goal here was to help Shrushti walk independently and to correct her gait eventually.
The idea was to replicate the way her physiotherapist helped her walk. The solution was a device which kept her legs parted and straight while she walked.
The final concept is a partition that can be attached to an existing walker. The partition separates and straightens Shrushti’s legs when she walks. It can also be used as a seating device when she gets tired of walking.
The partition is made out of a five-ply corrugated sheet and is cushioned with poly-urethane foam. It can be clamped to the walker with a nut and bolt.
The final prototype was validated. During the first testing period itself, Shrushti walked with the new walker for about 40 minutes without any difficulty. It was a very enjoyable experience for her as it was the first time she walked without anybody’s assistance. Initially the walker had to be held from behind as her body swayed while she walked. But with the increased walking activity she performs daily, she is becoming more and more independent. Moreover, her legs are getting adapted to separate and not collide while walking. This would correct her scissor gait eventually. When her gait becomes better, the angle of the partition can be reduced and then removed completely.
This project has been a wonderful experience and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a lot many people. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who was involved in this project.
The client, Shrushti for her patience and enthusiasm.
Shrushti’s family for their support and co-operation.
Shartul School for disabled children, Mumbai.
Physiotherapists, Dr. Sampada and Dr. Falguni.
Prof. Dhimant Panchal, for guiding me throughout the project.