Each year, 795,000 people in this country have a stroke, with 610,000 of those being first or new strokes; about 185,000 strokes (one in four) are repeat strokes, according to the CDC. If they’re lucky, stroke patients will get just a few short weeks of inpatient rehabilitation therapy. But with such limited time, rehabilitation clinicians have to focus on getting their patients home safely, which often includes walking in whatever capacity possible.
Sadly, many patients after a stroke never learn how to walk normally again. And because solid braces prohibit the ability to push off the ground with the affected foot, the more they walk, the weaker the ankle gets, and the more the foot will drop. This approach has been stifling the potential people have to improve after a stroke, says TheScientist.
Patients in wheelchairs have further challenges: not only do they not get the support to work on their walking skills, but all that sitting day in and day out starts to impair bowel and bladder function, reduce bone mass, and throw off blood pressure. Being in a load-bearing, standing position is critical for the body, and an exoskeleton suit may be just what the doctor ordered.
Exosuits help stroke patients by appropriately correcting for the users’ aberrant movements, while increasing their pace.
No matter what the disability is there’s no doubt that today’s exoskeleton suits are giving patients with mobility challenges new hope.