Locomotor therapy by treadmill stimulation with partial body weight support is evolving as a very promising treatment concept for spinal cord and brain injury patients. Several studies have shown its potential in patients after stroke, spinal cord injury and TBI.
Using a robotic device instead of the regular training has several advantages mainly that the work of the therapists is more efficient, therefore facilitating longer and more physiological training periods. We used the LOKOMATTM system which was developed at the University Hospital Balgrist in Zurich, Switzerland.
This system includes a harness system, a specialized treadmill and a mechanical system that moves the legs of the patient in a physiological way. Our department was the first in Israel to use this system in 2001.
We conducted several clinical trials of LOKOMATTM treatment in stroke or spinal cord injury patients. We also treated other patients with the LOKOMATTM including patients with MS, peripheral neuropathy or traumatic brain injury.
We found that early LOKOMATTM treatment in stroke patients improves the functional outcome of the patients. SCI patients treated by the LOKOMATTM improved significantly in motor functions and walking independence level as compared to historical control.