Relearning To Walk - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/15/06

Relearning To Walk

A new therapeutic device is helping patients learn how to walk again, and it's giving hope to some patients who are literally trying to get back on their feet. Gerald Webb is strapped in and ready for take-off. He is one of the first patients in Virginia to use the auto-ambulator, a device that helps patients re-learn how to walk.

This is how it works. Patients are supported by an overhead harness system. Rotating braces are strapped to the thigh and ankle to guide a patient's legs across the treadmill. The device is dictated by a computerized system.

"We adjust the machine for length of their leg as well as the length of their stride," said Julie Webb, a Physical Therapist.

"It feels good because I haven't been able to walk in over a year," said Gerald Webb, a stroke patient. 

The auto-ambulator simulates a normal gait cycle which helps get a patient's brain and body back into walking shape. Gerald is recovering from a stroke. Although the auto-ambulator is used to help a lot of conditions including Parkinson's and amputations. The auto-ambulator is just one aspect of rehabilitation treatment. As for Gerald he'd like to be walking on his own again within six months.

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