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The Pathokinesiology Laboratory at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center is a world-renowned Gait and Motion Analysis Center. Clinical services are provided to the patients of Los Angeles County and to the private sector. Physicians refer their patients to the Pathokinesiology Laboratory to obtain a detailed evaluation of their function and recommendations for surgical and therapeutic interventions that could not be determined by standard clinical procedures.

The causes and treatments of patients with deformities, pain, and gait disturbances are frequently not clinically apparent. This is especially true for patients with neuromuscular diseases and spinal cord/brain injuries who have complex deformities that have multiple potential causes. These patient populations often require surgical intervention to optimize or permit function (i.e. enable a patient to walk or use an arm for feeding or dressing). The data obtained by the Pathokinesiology Laboratory is used to:

  1. Identify which muscles/structures are contributing to the patient’s deformity;
  2. Determine if a patient would benefit from reconstructive surgery;
  3. Delineate what surgery should be performed;
  4. Prevent inappropriate surgery;
  5. Decide if additional therapeutic programs are necessary to optimize function such as bracing or orthotic support, assistive devices and muscle strengthening by exercise or electrical stimulation.

This detailed approach maximizes patients’ outcomes and minimizes complications, unsuccessful surgeries, and multiple procedures.

The Pathokinesiology Laboratory is equipped to study a wide variety of activities including walking, running, stair climbing, ramp walking, bicycling, and arm function during wheelchair propulsion, crutch walking, walker use and selfcare activities. Our facility is unique in its expertise in gait and motion analysis for the adult patient, while the majority of other motion analysis laboratories serve only children. In addition, few clinical motion analysis laboratories have the capability to evaluate movement dysfunction of the arms. The Pathokinesiology Laboratory also is unique in its exclusive use of dynamic fine wire electromyography (EMG) to record the patient’s muscle function. Other clinical laboratories without this expertise must rely on surface recordings of muscle activity that cannot differentiate signals from nearby muscles. Decisions regarding which muscles to operate on must be made with the accurate information provided by fine-wire EMG to prevent inappropriate surgeries.

The specific clinical questions for each patient are addressed at the Pathokinesiology Laboratory by a tailored quantitative analysis of the patient’s impairment during walking or other activities of daily living. Depending on the patient’s needs, this may include analysis of muscle activity, joint motion, joint forces, foot pressures or energy expenditure. Muscle dysfunction is a common, but often unsuspected, source of pathology.

Research Endeavors

Patients Served

We evaluate adults and children with impairments in walking, arm use or difficulty with performance of activities of daily living. The most frequent diagnoses of our patients include stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, cerebral palsy, post-polio, total joint replacement, orthopedic injuries, and amputation.

For additional information contact:

Sara Mulroy, PhD, PT
E-mail: smulroy@rancho.org
Tel: (562) 401-7177

Visit the Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, Inc. (LAREI) Web site.

Page last updated May 8, 2012
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7601 East Imperial Highway,  Downey,  California 90242
Telephone: 562.401.7111  |  TTY/TDD: 562.401.8450