Locomotor training is a classic rehabilitation approach utilized with the aim of improving sensorimotor function and walking ability in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Recent studies have provided strong evidence that locomotor training of persons with clinically complete, motor complete, or motor incomplete SCI induces functional reorganization of spinal neuronal networks at multisegmental levels at rest and during assisted stepping. This neuronal reorganization coincides with improvements in motor function and decreased muscle cocontractions. In this review, we will discuss the manner in which spinal neuronal circuits are impaired and the evidence surrounding plasticity of neuronal activity after locomotor training in people with SCI. We conclude that we need to better understand the physiological changes underlying locomotor training, use physiological signals to probe recovery over the course of training, and utilize established and contemporary interventions simultaneously in larger scale research studies. Furthermore, the focus of our research questions needs to change from feasibility and efficacy to the following: what are the physiological mechanisms that make it work and for whom? The aforementioned will enable the scientific and clinical community to develop more effective rehabilitation protocols maximizing sensorimotor function recovery in people with SCI.
Smith, Andrew C. and Knikou, Maria, "A Review on Locomotor Training after Spinal Cord Injury: Reorganization of Spinal Neuronal Circuits and Recovery of Motor Function" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.