Walking track analysis: Utilization of individual footprint parameters

G. M.T. Hare, P. J. Evans, S. E. Mackinnon, T. J. Best, R. Midha, J. P. Szalai, D. A. Hunter

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Functional assessment of rat sciatic, tibial, and peroneal nerve injuries was performed using walking track analysis. Individual walking print length (PL), toe spread (TS), and intermediate toe spread (ITS) values were measured up to 24 weeks after specific nerve transection, with or without repair. Sciatic and tibial nerve manipulation initially affected all footprint measurements, consistent with loss of intrinsic and extrinsic motor function. After sciatic repair, TS demonstrated partial recovery without any substantial recovery in PL or ITS, compared with sciatic transection values. By contrast, after tibial repair, PL values recovered dramatically, between 16 and 24 weeks, to levels not significantly different from control subjects. This was not observed after tibial transection without repair. TS recovered partially, whereas ITS recovered to control levels by 20 weeks after tibial repair. Peroneal transection resulted in multiple contractures, rendering this group unmeasurable at 4 weeks. After peroneal repair, only the PL reflected significant loss of function at 2 weeks, recovering to control values by 8 weeks. Manual TS measurements in nonwalking rats did not reflect functional nerve regeneration. Thus, individual PL measurements alone can be used to characterize functional recovery after tibial and peroneal nerve injury, whereas TS reflected recovery after sciatic nerve injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


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