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Robotics can help improve mobility for individuals suffering from Cerebral Palsy.

Physical therapists are seeing successful results with robotic gait training that gets you back on your feet fast.
Physical therapists seeing successful results with robotic gait training that gets you back on your feet fast.

With the dawn of 2017 brings many new technological innovations once thought to be science fiction. Robotics have helped people with cerebral palsy and chronic stroke regain movement. This is all due to robotics pioneered with Toyota’s Asimo. Asimo walks thanks to mechanical joint movements and measured weight displacement of each foot. Robotic gait training applied to humans with gait disorders may speed up recovery time.

Pain can inhibit our recovery when our muscles have spent too long inactive that physical therapy hurts. The (Boston Medical Center, 2016) conducted a study on robot assisted gait training on children with cerebral palsy. Boston Medical Physical Therapists worked with children to correct their walking using specialized machines like the one pictured above. The robotic assistants moved their joints and step-by-step made their feet accept their body weight. Gross motor functions in children improved much faster with robotics than without robotics. 

We take the act of walking for granted, never considering our own center of gravity. On does not mentally calculate the amount of weight we put on each foot, nor the tension we place on our hips and our ankles. Physical therapists are already on step ahead of us, and list our footfalls and motions as steps in a process. Physical therapists see a person’s’ gait as an indicator of health, or the pain they feel when moving. This pain can cause a variety of gait disorders, most of which you have seen before but never knew had a name. Such as:

Scissor Gait – This disorder comes from pain in on weight bearing side of your body, often as a result of cerebral palsy or spinal cord trauma. To dampen the pain on that side, a person will cross their legs at the knees and take slow, short steps.
Spastic Gait – Also associated with cerebral palsy, but also with strokes and brain tumors. Legs remain close together, with large steps being the only way to move peacefully.
Four Point Gait – Assisted walking with crutches. Most people do not know how to do this inherently and must learn it from a physical therapist.


The (Society for Physical Therapy of Japan, 2016) tested hybridized gait training on adult stroke victims. Their great results that came from weekly exercises inside a robotic exoskeleton suit. Patients saw improvements in walking over an eight week robot assisted period with the help of trained physical therapists. The patients were able to keep their newfound mobility thanks to follow up physical therapy sessions.  

Muscle strength, range of joint movements, and walking ability increased much faster with robotic assisted gait training. With 2016 bringing us so much evidence to support robotic gait training. The future of physical therapy looks brighter every day.

Wiart, Lesley, Rhonda J. Rosychuk, and F. Virginia Wright. “Evaluation of the effectiveness of robotic gait training and gait-focused physical therapy programs for children and youth with cerebral palsy: a mixed methods RCT.” BMC Neurology 16.1 (2016): n. pag. Web.
Lee, So Young, Eun Young Han, Bo Ryun Kim, Min Ho Chun, and Yong Ki Lee. “Can Lowering the Guidance Force of Robot-Assisted Gait Training Induce a Sufficient Metabolic Demand in Subacute Dependent Ambulatory Stroke Patients?” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2016): n. pag. Web
Yoshimoto, Takahiko, Issei Shimizu, and Yasuhiro Hiroi. “Sustained effects of once-a-week gait training with hybrid assistive limb for rehabilitation in chronic stroke: case study.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 28.9 (2016): 2684-687. Web.

Moriarty Physical Therapy is a premier PT center in the Hudson Valley. To find out more about physical therapy or to book your first appointment with a PT, contact Moriarty Physical Therapy at (845) 454-4137 or visit their website.

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Come visit one of our physical therapy clinics in New York or North Carolina and one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will do a 15-minute consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you. In the consultation, we’ll help determine the source of pain and movement restrictions to see if you would benefit from physical therapy or might need the assistance of another healthcare professional. If so, we’ll make a referral and help speed up achieving your health goal.

You have nothing to lose; the screening is free! And if physical therapy could help you, we can perform the examination right then–even without a prescription–with Direct Access (covered by insurance).

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