Effects of Assisted Dorsiflexion Timing on Voluntary Efforts and Compensatory Movements: A Feasibility Study in Healthy Participants

Jing Chen Hong*, Hao Cheng, Kazuhiro Yasuda, Hiroki Ohashi, Hiroyasu Iwata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In previous research, we found that modulating the assistance timing of dorsiflexion may affect a user's voluntary efforts. This could constitute a focus area based on assistive strategies that could be developed to foster patients' voluntary efforts. In this present study, we conducted an experiment to verify the effects of ankle dorsiflexion assistance under different timings using a high-dorsiflexion assistive system. Nine healthy and young participants wore a dorsiflexion-restrictive device that enabled them to use circumduction or steppage gaits. On the basis of the transition from the stance to the swing phase of the gait, the assistance timings of the high-dorsiflexion assistive system were set to have delays, which ranged from 0 to 300 ms. The index results from eight out of nine participants evaluated compensatory movements and revealed positive strong/moderate correlations with assistance delay times (r = 0.627-0.965, p <.001), whereas the other participants also performed compensatory movement when dorsiflexion assistance timing was late. Meanwhile, the results from tibialis anterior surface electromyography from six out of nine participants showed positive strong/moderate correlations with dorsiflexion assistance delay times (r = 0.598-0.922, p <.001), indicating that tuning the assistance timing did foster these participants' voluntary dorsiflexion movements. This result indicates that there should be a trade-off between ensuring voluntary dorsiflexion movements and preventing incorrect gait patterns at different assistance timings. The findings of this feasibility study indicate the potential of developing an adaptive control method to ensure voluntary efforts during robot-assisted gait rehabilitation based on assistance timing modification. A new assistance mechanism should also be required to stimulate and motivate a patient's voluntary efforts and should reinforce the effects of active gait rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2222-2231
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Gait rehabilitation
  • assist-as-needed
  • compensatory movement
  • powered ankle-foot orthosis
  • voluntary effort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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