Body Weighted Support Devices
Several body weight supported treadmill devices are available at UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute to assist patients who meet the criteria for use. These devices include Lokomat, Lite Gait and Golvo.
Lokomat: Robotic Exercise Device
The Lokomat is a body weight supported treadmill, and is used to retain gait in some spinal cord injury patients. Patients are supported in a harness connected to an overhead support system. This system is located over a treadmill that unloads incremental amounts of body weight.
Goals of Treatment
- Increase muscle strength
- Method of biofeedback for patients to better recruit muscles for functional use during movement
How does the robotic device work?
The Lokomat works by suspending the patient in a harness over a treadmill. The frame of the robot is attached by straps to the outside of the legs of the patient, moving the legs in a natural walking position. A computer controls the pace of the walking and measures the body's response to the movement.
For more information, visit the Lokomat page inside the Outpatient Therapies section of this web site.
Through the use of an overhead suspension system and harness, the Lite Gait allows therapists to provide body weight supported gait therapy to individuals who have difficulty walking as a result of a neurological event.
The system facilitates more normal movement patterns with better postural control.
How does robot-assisted walking therapy help a person re-learn to walk?
It is believed that the repetitive walking pattern helps the brain and spinal cord work together to re-route signals that were interrupted by injury or illness. With robot-assisted walking therapy, the pattern and pace are consistent throughout the session and the exercise can be sustained over longer periods of time.
Who benefits from robot-assisted walking therapy?
The primary goal of robot-assisted walking therapy is to regain or improve the ability to walk, so it may be most appropriate for people whose ability to walk has been impaired by brain injury, stroke, incomplete spinal cord injury, or some other neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis.
In addition to satisfying other criteria for participation in robot-assisted walking therapy, the patient must have some sensation or movement in at least one major muscle group in the leg.
Who should not participate in robot-assisted walking therapy?
People with the following conditions are not candidates to participate in robot-assisted walking therapy:
- Cardiopulmonary disease
- High blood pressure or blood pressure that changes dramatically when standing up or walking
- Unhealed incisions or pressure sores
- Severe osteoporosis
- Swelling or contracture of the legs
- Other conditions that would make independent walking unsafe