Lokomat Therapy Featured in Chicago Special Parent Magazine - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Skip to Content

Published on July 14, 2009

Lokomat® Therapy Featured in Chicago Parent

The summer issue of Chicago Special Parent magazine and the Web site ChicagoParent.com feature an article on 11-year-old RIC

Juanito Zavala uses the Lokomat during a therapy session at RIC

Juanito Zavala uses the Lokomat
during a therapy session at RIC

patient Juanito Zavala. Juanito was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant and has generally gotten around with the use of a wheelchair.

Recently, Juanito has undergone innovative robot-assisted walking therapy at RIC using the Lokomat. According to the article, Juanito's experience not only helped him physically improve his ability to walk, but it boosted his confidence and enthusiasm as well.

Read the full story on the Chicago Parent Web site.

About Lokomat Therapy

Robot-assisted walking therapy is a form of physical therapy that uses a robotic device to help a person improve his or her ability to walk. The patient is suspended in a harness over a treadmill, and an exoskeleton robotic frame, attached by straps to the outside of the legs, moves the legs in a natural walking pattern. A computer controls the pace of walking and measures the body’s response to the movement. The pediatric model also has an interactive gaming interface which, through cartoon characters and challenges, motivates children and provides them instruction.

Currently, this type of physical therapy is conducted with the aid of two or more therapists who manually move the patient’s legs in a walking pattern. The strenuous nature and variability of the manual method can limit the frequency and duration of therapy. In the Lokomat, the robotic device does most of the heavy work, the pattern and pace are consistent throughout the session, and the exercise can be sustained over longer periods of time, making it more effective.

The Science Behind the Treatment

RIC has been examining and tracking the effects of this therapy for adults for years and continues to focus on new research and clinical trials that provide more data on this treatment. In fact, RIC was the first hospital in the U.S. to obtain this technology and began clinical trials with the Lokomat® when it was first approved by the Food & Drug Administration in March 2002. In addition to its research studies, RIC now makes robot-assisted walking therapy available in the clinical setting for adult inpatients and outpatients as well.

In an early study conducted in Europe examining the use of Lokomat therapy for children with CP, results indicated an improvement in walking speed and in gross-motor function. The therapy was also rated “excellent” in providing motivation for carrying out therapy among a majority of children, while there was also a very high level of approval from the therapy team and parents.

Candidates for Robot-Assisted Walking Therapy on the Lokomat

Children with neurological conditions who are about four years old or older (or who have a femur length of at least 21 cm) and who are evaluated by a physician to determine if they are medically appropriate for robot-assisted walking therapy are eligible. If you are interested in having your child evaluated for Lokomat therapy, please call 1-312-238-6100 or make an appointment online  for an evaluation with Dr. Deborah Gaebler-Spira or Dr. Gadi Revivo.