Baltimore, MD - April 14, 2014 - The "Anklebot" training system uses robotic-assisted exercise to improve ankle function for people who have impaired mobility after a stroke. Many stroke survivors have residual problems with the ankle joint of their affected leg, such that they cannot safely clear the floor and plant the foot as they step forward. This limits their mobility and puts them at greater risk for falling.
This video, produced for the 2014 International Stroke Conference, demonstrates how the Anklebot works and shows the collaboration between researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute.
Building on the success of Anklebot research at Baltimore VA, the team wanted to see the feasibility and potential benefit of using the Anklebot at a rehabilitation facility with patients who had recently suffered a stroke.
They tested in Anklebot in a pilot study of 34 patients receiving treatment at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute. The results show that patients who received Anklebot training, in addition to standard therapy, had better ankle control and improved gait patterns compared to patients receiving standard therapy with matched amounts of manual ankle stretching exercises. Study results appeared in the February 2014 edition of the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.
The researchers say they would like to build on this study and test the potential benefits of using the Anklebot over a longer period of time, beyond the inpatient rehabilitation phase.