The physical therapists of Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation (BIR) recently conducted the Body Weight Treadmill Study. So far, researchers report successful results and ultimately hope to include the technique in traditional therapy methods for stroke patients.
DALLAS, April 1, 2008 – For the more than 700,000 people who experience a stroke each year, many never regain the ability to walk like they did prior to their stroke. But physical therapists, using a specialized treadmill, have discovered a new way to help stroke patients walk again — correctly.
The results of their study, conducted at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation (BIR), appear in the April 2008 issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Often times, during rehabilitation, stroke patients develop an abnormal gait pattern, which can be difficult and sometimes impossible to correct.”
Gait impairment is common after a stroke with many survivors living with a walking-related disability, despite extensive rehabilitation,” says Karen McCain, D.P.T., lead investigator of the study at BIR. “Walking incorrectly not only creates a stigma for these patients, but it also makes them more susceptible to injury and directly affects their quality of life.” After completing the pilot study, all seven of the patients enrolled were able to walk with a basically normal gait pattern, all without the use of even a cane.