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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:
- Identify which muscles/structures are contributing
to the patient’s deformity;
- Determine if a patient would benefit from reconstructive surgery;
- Delineate what surgery should be performed;
- Prevent inappropriate surgery;
- 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
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
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.
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
Tel: (562) 401-7177
Page last updated May 8, 2012
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