Guest Blogger: Walking Again with the Help of a Powered Orthosis

By Brittany Shaney

April 26, 2017

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury

The Indego® Exoskeleton is a powered orthosis designed to help people with paralysis walk again. I heard about it while at Craig Hospital. The machine is programmed to take steps when you lean forward, giving the user some control over when and how fast they move.

 

To prepare my body to use the Indego Exoskeleton, I had to make sure I could stand for more than 20 minutes, without feeling like passing out, and it was also important for my lower body to be stretched out so I had full range of motion.

 

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Thus far, my experiences have been nothing short of amazing. My first steps felt incredible. When I took my first step, I was in an empty gymnasium. It was nice to have the entire gym to myself to just wander around in. I had to continue to be told to look up, but I couldn’t help but to stare at my feet. It was the first time since my injury that I was able to take an actual step without my knees being locked out. It was too exciting!

 

I have now walked in the Indego Exoskeleton five different times. With each use I have improved my step count, maxing out at 1,270 steps during my last session. My goal was to take 1,000 steps. That was an exciting day for me! I have now walked up and down ramps, on a flat surface and outside on unlevel ground. I found walking outside to be the most challenging as the unlevel ground makes it more difficult to keep my balance.

 

In addition to the feeling of walking again, it helps with my circulation, muscle tone, flexibility, and overall confidence.

 

I kept thinking that if technology has already come this far, then I can’t wait to see what will be available for the spinal cord injury community in five to ten years.

The Indego Exoskeleton is a registered trademark of Parker Hannifin Corporation.

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Author

Brittany Shaney

Brittany Shaney

Brittany Shaney sustained a T6 level spinal cord injury in a car accident in March of 2016. Brittany wants to encourage others to think of their injury not as a setback, but rather as an opportunity. Brittany is a sponsored social ambassador for Invacare.

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