Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type: Review Article


Department of Orthotics and Pros-thetics, Faculty of Rehabilitation, and Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Isfahan University of Medical sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to spinal cord, which is categorized according to the extent of functional loss, sensation loss and inability of the subjects to stand and walk. The patients use two transportation systems including orthosis and wheelchair. It was claimed that standing and walking bring some benefits such as decreasing bone osteoporosis, prevention of pressure sores, and improvement of the function of the digestive system for SCI patients. Nevertheless, the question of wether or not there is enough evidence to support the effect of walking with orthosis on the health status of the subjects with SCI remains unanswered. In order to answer this question a review of the relevant literature was carried out. The review of the literature showed that evidence reported in the literature regarding the effectiveness of orthoses for improving the health condition of SCI patients was controversial. Many investigators had only used the comments of the users of orthoses. The benefits mentioned in various research studies regarding the use of orthosis included decreasing bone osteoprosis, preventing joint deformity, improving bowl and bladder function, improving digestive system function, decreasing muscle spasm, improving independent living, and improving respiratory and cardiovascular systems function. The findings of the studies reviewed also showed that improving the independent living and physiological health of the subjects were the only two benefits, which were supported by strong evidence. The review of the literature suggests that most published studies are in fact surveys, which collected questionnaire-based information from the users of orthosis.