Incomplete spinal cord injury

A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The majority of spinal cord injuries occur during car accidents. Others happen as the result of falls, acts of violence, sporting accidents, and other causes.

More than 60% of the estimated 12,000 spinal cord injuries that occur each year in the United States are incomplete. Unlike a complete injury, which results in the complete loss of function below the point of injury, with an incomplete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is partially damaged and some motor and sensory function remains. How much sensory and motor function a person has after an incomplete spinal cord injury varies enormously from person to person.


There are five types of incomplete spinal cord injury:

  • Anterior cord syndrome results from an injury to the front of the spinal cord. Individuals with anterior cord syndrome may retain some sensation but struggle with movement.
  • Central cord syndrome results from an injury to the center of the spinal cord. Loss of fine motor skills, paralysis of the arms, and partial impairment in the legs are common.
  • Posterior cord syndrome results from an injury to the back of the spinal cord. Individuals with this type of incomplete spinal cord injury generally maintain good muscle power and sensation but experience poor coordination.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome results from an injury to one side of the spinal cord, so movement may not be possible on one side of the body, but it may be fully retained on the other.
  • Cauda equine syndrome results from injury to the nerves located between the first and second lumbar region of the spine. Individuals have partial or complete loss of sensation; however, in some cases, the nerves are able to regenerate and function is restored.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Individuals with incomplete injuries have a higher chance of recovering function than those with complete injuries. The sooner the muscles start working again, the better chance of getting more return.

Diagnosis and treatment for incomplete spinal cord injuries is determined by the region in which the injury is located. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, leg orthoses can help individuals with spinal cord injury regain some of their lost function so that they can lead active and independent lives.

Orthotic management

The products below are fitting examples. Whether a product is suitable for you and whether you are capable of exploiting its full functionality depends on many different factors. Your physical condition, fitness, and a detailed medical examination are all factors. Your doctor or orthotist will decide which product would be the most suitable for your condition. We are happy to support you.

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