Dynamic, activity-based physical rehabilitation is demonstrably the best recourse for someone recovering from a disabling neurological trauma. Ample research goes further to suggest that gait training and locomotor training, the act of forcing your body to bear weight and take steps (even if you are unable to contribute much to the process with your own muscle power), is a powerful means of improving your health and even your chances of a fruitful recovery. But you probably already knew this.
The problem? It is difficult to animate an uncooperative adult body. It usually requires a large robotic machine or several people manually moving your legs.
The Spartan solves this problem. It fills the massive gap between robotic walking machines and the sloppy crazy-walk one gets from direct manual assistance (the good old “stool-push” method in which the PT gets behind the patient in a walker, uses his/her shoulder to keep the patient’s hips forward, and alternates pushing each leg forward at the knee and then holding them in extension).
Guided by the medical expertise of several doctors of physical therapy, the Spartan inventor packed over four years of rehab experience into a simple and elegant form. From the very beginning, the Spartan was intended to empower both the user (the disabled individual doing therapy) and the operator (the PT or whoever is gripping the handles). The user is better able to focus and mentally engage with the process of walking. The Spartan will smooth over their gait pattern so that common compensatory techniques like hip-hiking and building momentum become unnecessary. The user’s concerns are with the positioning of their trunk, weight shifting, mental focus, and contributing to the stepping pattern with whatever power they can muster. If the user cannot contribute at all with muscles in their legs, gait training can still be highly beneficial.
The operator assumes the advantageous position of being directly in front of the user.
They are able to evaluate the quality of the user’s gait pattern and make instant adjustments. They can feel for any power the user generates in their legs through the handles and lessen the amount of assistance they provide accordingly. Small tweaks in the operator’s arm motions translate to corrections in the user’s gait kinematics. Strap it on (<2 minutes), get up and go, and rest assured that the positions, angles, velocities, and accelerations in your lower limbs and joints are regulated.
Spartan manipulations can control:
Hip flexion and extension
Knee flexion and extension
Step width variability
Dorsiflexion of the feet
Internal and external rotation of the feet
Inversion and eversion of the feet
To physical therapists and trainers working at a clinic, if any of the following describes your situation, the Spartan might be perfect for you:
Your clinic cannot afford or justify buying a robotic gait trainer that costs more than a luxury vehicle.
You have access to one or more robotic gait trainers but desire to perform high-quality gait training with more patients than the machine bandwidth can accommodate.
You do gait and locomotor training, but it usually requires several assistants to perform the task with a single patient. You are looking for increased workforce efficiency.
You do the above-described “stool-push” method and would like to offer your patients an improved gait pattern and a higher step frequency. Oh, and you wouldn’t mind giving your back a rest as well.
Your clinic does not get many neurological patients and is ill-equipped to treat them as well as needed. You are looking for affordable and simple tools that can go a long way in the treatment protocol of the occasional neurological case that you get.
Your clinic embraces—or is evolving to embrace—activity-based therapies. You wish to be on the forefront of neurological rehabilitative practices. You strive to give the people who come to your clinic the best possible chance of neuromuscular recovery, independence, and health.
To the individuals who are afflicted by a disabling neurological condition, you should consider buying the Spartan if any of the following describe you:
Either you have read the research articles or your therapist has told you, a few hours of PT a week is not enough. Repetition is king. Regularity is king. You want to be able to do clinical-grade PT at home with a parent, sibling, caregiver, or friend.
The clinic you go to for PT doesn’t have the manpower or equipment to get you up and walking. You want to acquire your own tool to bring to the clinic so they can.
You have been discharged from therapy or insurance has stopped covering it. But you are not done making progress.
You can take a few steps in a walker or with canes, but you fatigue very quickly and you know that you won’t get stronger if you don’t push past this point of failure. You just need the extra push or pull when your muscles get tired.
You cannot stand up and take steps on your own, or even with another person helping. Your ability to move your legs and walk is non-existent or very limited. You need a tool to use with a platform walker that will give someone serious control over your legs and allow them to help you through every major stage of stepping.
You are familiar with the concepts neuroplasticity and central pattern generation. You want to apply the principles of activity-based therapy to achieve a neuroplastic response and maximize your potential for recovering function.
You are concerned about the deleterious health impact that a sedentary lifestyle produces. Statistically, you are quite prone to many deadly chronic disease states. Just 20-30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can ward off over two dozen of these risks and slow down the aging process. You need a tool that can help you achieve this level of exercise intensity. Also, given your disability you also seek the added benefits that come from being upright and moving cyclically with weight-bearing, which include benefits to the following: bone-mineral density, systemic circulation, digestive health, skin integrity, lower extremity range of motion and strength, upper extremity strength, trunk stability and strength, tolerance to an upright position and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, spasticity management, bowel and bladder regularity, psychological and emotional wellbeing. You want to fortify your body to live longer and feel much better.
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