A showcase of products designed to help people walk away from lower extremity impairment and injury.
Compiled by Physical Therapy Products Staff
“A step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.” American long-distance runner, Kara Goucher, made that statement in a Twitter post on January 20, 2013. Her words were directed at athletes, but they carry just as much meaning for individuals working to recover the ability to walk. Walking is the goal post-stroke patients most often cite as their priority and, as any therapist can tell you, it is a goal achieved through hard work and persistence. Because of that, every minute of therapeutic intervention must leverage neuroplasticity, and every step toward progress must be measured to maintain motivation.
To help therapists meet these objectives, manufacturers have developed gait and balance technologies for a variety of settings, budgets, and conditions. The products and systems in this section include body weight support, gait analysis, data-enabled treadmill and step training, eye movement analysis, and pressure mapping technologies; all built to provide effective therapeutic activities and contribute to a measurable picture of progress. Read the listings below to learn more about these devices and the care settings where they fit best.
Zeno Electronic Walkway System
Managing and synthesizing accurate gait data is essential to outcomes-driven healthcare. The portable Zeno Walkway from ProtoKinetics, Havertown, Pa, has a wide, flat surface that allows for the capture of loading patterns of the patients’ footsteps without any impedance to assistive device performance. PKMAS software identifies typical footfall patterns instantly and is engineered to automatically eliminate walker tracks, while expertly identifying overlapping steps, to provide robust temporal-spatial measurements for even the most complicated gait patterns. Recent implementation of the enhanced Gait Variability Index (eGVI), instrumented Four Square Step Test (iFSST) and Limits of Stability (LoS) balance test are examples of rehabilitation-related outcome measures which can assist in clinical treatment planning and hospital discharge decisions.
For more information, contact ProtoKinetics, (610) 449-4879; www.protokinetics.com
Portable Gait Analysis
CIR Systems Inc, Franklin, NJ, designed the GAITRite family of walkways and modular systems to capture objective data from under the foot as well as basic upper body movement and help therapists improve how they evaluate and document patient status. All standard gait parameters for foot timing, placement, and pressure with upper body position using single-camera markerless video sub system are available. The systems can also provide objective assessment of a patient’s status and progress. All data is readily available to synchronize with other systems, such as video and EMG. Robust reporting with multiple export functions is provided.
For more information, contact CIR Systems Inc, (888) 482-2362; www.gaitrite.com
Robotic Rehabilitation Devices
DIH is a global solution provider of robotic rehabilitation devices for physical and occupational therapy. The company blends innovative robotic and VR technologies with clinical integration and insights. The DIH brands, which include Hocoma, Motek, SafeGait and G-EO, are applied successfully in renowned clinics and research institutes worldwide. The company’s therapy solutions support the treatment of patients across the continuum of care, including those with movement disorders caused by stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or other neurological diseases and injuries as well as low back pain patients. DIH strives to bring advanced rehabilitation technology, solutions and innovations to those who need them most and change lives for the better.
For more information, contact DIH, (877) 944-2200; www.dih.com
Pressure Mapping System
The BodiTrak BioMetrics Pressure Mapping System from BodiTrak BioMetrics, a Vista Medical company, is designed to provide objective, real-time data and performance metrics to help aid clinical decision-making. Assess, retrain, and evaluate patients while enhancing engagement. Gain a better picture of symmetry, weight shift, compensations, balance and more for analysis, treatment progression and return to function.
For more information, contact BodiTrak BioMetrics by Vista Medical, (855) 733-0123, ext 104; www.boditrakbiometrics.com
The Biodex Balance System SD, from Biodex Medical Systems Inc, Shirley, NY, is a versatile balance testing and training device that adds value with turnkey programs to help therapists grow their businesses. Access science-based technology solutions, from Fall Risk to Concussion Management. Objective data and reporting help meet requirements for value-based care.
In-Shoe Gait Analysis System
The F-Scan64 wireless in-shoe pressure measurement system from Tekscan, South Boston, offers quick set-up and flexibility to collect pressure, force, and temporal gait parameters. Featuring small and lightweight data acquisition electronics, the F-Scan64 is designed to allow a natural gait collection environment free from cords and excessive weight or bulk for patients. The combination of a simple set-up process and gait analysis software essentials helps clinicians save time when working with patients, without sacrificing data quality or reporting capabilities.
For more information, contact Tekscan, (800) 248-3669; www.tekscan.com/f-scan64
Slip Trainer 6.0
MASS Rehab Inc offers a tool built to be simple, affordable and effective for providing reactive perturbation and step training. Supported by the latest research, the Slip Trainer 6.0 is engineered to allow therapists to improve balance and reduce fall rates among their client base. By using Reactive Training instead of the typical anticipatory training, the Slip Trainer 6.0 allows therapists to quickly and dramatically improve reactive stepping responses in as little as one visit.
For more information, contact MASS Rehab Inc, (937) 760-4874; www.massrehabinc.com
Fall and Fracture Reduction Program
Medical Fitness Solutions, Fallbrook, Calif, offers a drug-free method of reducing falls and fractures. By addressing each component of a fall and fracture—strength, bone density, balance, and gait—the MFS fall and fracture reduction program can reduce falls and severity of injury. Technologies that help improve balance are detailed on the company website.
For more information, contact Medical Fitness Solutions, (800) 831-7665; www.medicalfitsolutions.com
Eye Movement Analysis System
VisualEyes 505 from Interacoustics, Eden Prairie, Minn, is a powerful eye movement analysis system designed to simultaneously record eye and patient movements. A tool for clinicians who specialize in vestibular physical therapy, the video Frenzel system features a spontaneous nystagmus detection algorithm designed to provide objective slow phase velocity data for clinically accurate reports. PC-based, VisualEyes 505 is offered in a variety of video goggle sizes and configurations, including a headband option, and is available in either a monocular or binocular camera configuration. Modules that add a 3D head model to help therapists position patients, as well as a torsional nystagmus upgrade for improved accuracy in BPPV assessment, are available.
For more information, contact Interacoustics, (800) 947-6334; www.interacoustics.com/us
By adding virtual reality experience to existing treadmills, GaitBetter can enable a personalized, safe, and effective motor-cognitive intervention for gait rehabilitation and falls prevention. GaitBetter was designed by researchers, scientists, and technologists to maximize therapy outcomes such as dynamic balance, gait speed, obstacles negotiation, decision-making, and motor-planning. The system was featured in a multi-center, randomized controlled trial in virtual reality for rehabilitation, published in The Lancet. Gamified exercise aims to help increase patients’ adherence and reduce no-shows. The system is operated by PTAs and PT techs, utilizes existing equipment, and features a flexible pricing model.
For more information, contact GaitBetter, (908) 883-3218; www.gaitbetter.com
DST8000 TriplePro Stair Trainer
The Dynamic Stair Trainer DST8000 TriplePro from Clarke Health Care Products, Oakdale, Pa, features electronically elevating steps, rising from a flat plane to 6.5 inches, that allow clients to start stair climbing at a level appropriate to their ability. On the other side is an increasing incline that raises and lowers. In flat plane the DST is a parallel bar. An onboard computer displays the patient’s performance in past and current sessions as well as a DST Factor based on the patient’s status that estimates the potential for future improvement. Various report formats can be printed or downloaded to assist therapists.
For more information, contact Clarke Health Care Products, (888) 347-4537; www.clarkehealthcare.com