Robotic-Assisted Walking Therapy

Rusk's pediatric physical therapy department now offers a Robotic-Assisted Walking Therapy Program. This program uses the Lokomat® to perform body weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT) to help children regain or improve their ability to walk.

About the Lokomat®

The Lokomat® is a body weight support system with robotic "legs" and a treadmill machine that guides a patient through a natural walking pattern. The child is placed in a harness that suspends them over the treadmill, while the robotic "legs" are fastened to the child's own legs with straps. A computer controls the pace of the treadmill and measures the child's progress, while at least one physical therapist oversees the therapy sessions.

What are the benefits of robotic-assisted walking therapy with the Lokomat®?

The Lokomat® will help your child to:

  • Experience and practice walking with a natural movement pattern
  • Walk for longer distances before having to stop and rest
  • Walk without the fear of falling
  • Feel motivated to learn and improve through real-time, "virtual reality" feedback
  • Gain a sense of accomplishment and progress

What are the goals of robotic-assisted walking therapy?

The overall goal of this therapy is to regain or improve a child's ability to walk, by:

  • Decreasing assistance needed
  • Improving the walking pattern
  • Improving endurance
  • Increasing walking speed
  • Improving gross motor performance

Who can participate?

This program is for children with non-progressive neuromuscular disorders who are able to follow commands, initiate steps, hold their head up, and actively participate safely.

Children with the following conditions are most commonly treated with the Lokomat®:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury

What to expect:

  • The patient and family must agree to 21 sessions within a 6-9 week time period.
  • 2-3 of the 21 sessions are conducted off of the Lokomat®. These occur at the start and end of the 6-9 week therapy time period. The purpose of these sessions is to confirm that the patient is appropriate for this type of therapy and to collect pre- and post-therapy information on the patient's walking ability.
  • There will be 30-45 minutes of walking on the Lokomat® during each session.

How can I make an appointment for my child to participate in this therapy program?

All participants must undergo a telephone screening before being scheduled for evaluations. Based on that screening, an evaluation may be scheduled to further assess if the Robot-Assisted Walking Therapy Program is safe and effective for the child.

Please contact Carie Sumida or Erica Martin at 212-598-6248 or for the telephone screening or if you have any questions about the Lokomat® or our Robotic-Assisted Walking Therapy Program.

View our Lokomat photo gallery