Effect of a passive hip exoskeleton on walking distance in neurological patients

F A Panizzolo, S Cimino, E Pettenello, A Belfiore, N Petrone, G Marcolin
Assistive Technology: the Official Journal of RESNA 2021 January 22
Severe neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis and acute events like stroke, spinal cord injuries or other related pathologies have been shown to negatively impact the central and peripheral nervous systems, thus causing severe impairments to mobility. The development and utilisation of exoskeletons as rehabilitation devices has shown good potential for improving patients' gait function. Ten older adults (age: 68.9 ± 9.2 yrs; height: 1.65 ± 0.08 m. mass: 71.6 ± 11.0 kg) affected by neurological diseases impacting their gait function completed a 10-session gait training protocol where they walked for 10 minutes wearing a passive exoskeleton assisting hip flexion, namely Exoband. Results showed that participants walked a significantly longer distance in the last session of training with respect to the first session (453.1±178.8m vs 392.4±135.1m; respectively). This study indicates the potential of Exoband as an effective tool for gait rehabilitation in patients with neurological diseases. Wearable, lightweight and low-cost devices such as the one involved in this work have the potential to improve walking distance in patients.

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