Use of Lower-Limb Robotics to Enhance Practice and Participation in Individuals With Neurological Conditions

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Abstract

Purpose:

To review lower-limb technology currently available for people with neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, or other conditions. We focus on 3 emerging technologies: treadmill-based training devices, exoskeletons, and other wearable robots.

Summary of Key Points:

Efficacy for these devices remains unclear, although preliminary data indicate that specific patient populations may benefit from robotic training used with more traditional physical therapy. Potential benefits include improved lower-limb function and a more typical gait trajectory.

Statement of Conclusions:

Use of these devices is limited by insufficient data, cost, and in some cases size of the machine. However, robotic technology is likely to become more prevalent as these machines are enhanced and able to produce targeted physical rehabilitation.

Recommendations for Clinical Practice:

Therapists should be aware of these technologies as they continue to advance but understand the limitations and challenges posed with therapeutic/mobility robots.

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