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locomotor training, spinal cord injury, financial feasibility, profit margin, body weight supported treadmill



  1. Morrison, Sarah A. PT
  2. Backus, Deborah PT, PhD


Purpose: Several lines of evidence suggest that locomotor training (LT) modalities, such as body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT), improves gait in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Yet, manual BWSTT has been criticized for being cost prohibitive due to the number of staff required to perform this treatment. This study examined the financial viability of a LT program using manual BWSTT.


Methods: This retrospective study analyzed data from individuals with motor incomplete SCI who had participated in manual BWSTT in a hospital-based outpatient clinic between 2003 and 2005. Individuals were between 18 and 68 years of age and were medically stable. Descriptive statistics were performed to determine the mean for each of the following: date of injury, age, impairment, gender, total number of visits, total procedures billed, charges, basic reimbursement information, and costs associated with the treatment.


Results: The majority of individuals were male, classified as ASIA C, and had private insurance. Physical therapy evaluation, gait training, and therapeutic exercise were the most commonly billed procedures for all individuals. It was found that this locomotor training program, using the delivery model of one physical therapist, two physical therapy technicians, and one volunteer, was profitable.


Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that LT using manual BWSTT in a hospital-based outpatient clinic can be financially feasible when provided by one trained physical therapist, two technicians, and one well-trained volunteer.