Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
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A doctor's referral is required to participate in this program.
State-of-the-art technology to restore walking function
Lokomat® is a robot-assisted treadmill that supports a patient in an upright position while moving the legs through a normal walking pattern – even if a patient is unable to move his or her legs independently.
While similar treadmill technology has been in use for several years, the robotic assistance of Lokomat means patients with more severe injuries can benefit from gait therapy sooner in their recovery.
The Lokomat was funded by the Sister Kenny Foundation.
Who may benefit
Patients who can benefit the most from early gait therapy are those with significant disability due to stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury.
The Lokomat is available in Minneapolis, Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
But Lokomat is not only for those who are just starting their rehabilitation.
Patients can benefit from the intensive training that Lokomat provides even years after their injury.
How it works
Sensors and other technology monitor the patient's gait pattern, measure changes in strength, range of motion and endurance over time, and allow the patient to gradually increase physical effort while ensuring safety.
The best way to restore walking function is to get the patient up and walking as early as possible in their rehabilitation.
In patients with brain injury and stroke, the involved side of the body responds to moving in the normal pattern of walking even if the patient does not have the strength to move his legs.
In those with a spinal cord injury, the therapy generates reflexes that allow input from the leg to move up the spinal cord.
Source: Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Brian LeLoup, rehabilitation services manager, inpatient rehabilitation therapies, Abbott Northwestern Hospital
First Published: 03/22/2011
Last Reviewed: 03/01/2011