Archive for category Gait Rehabilitation – Foot Drop

[NEWS] Brain-controlled, non-invasive muscle stimulation allows chronic paraplegics to walk

Brain-controlled, non-invasive muscle stimulation allows chronic paraplegics to walk again and exhibit partial motor recovery

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IMAGE: THE NON-INVASIVE CLOSED-LOOP NEUROREHABILITATION PROTOCOL: I) EEG: ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHY, NON-INVASIVE BRAIN-RECORDING. II) BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACE: REAL-TIME DECODING OF MOTOR INTENTIONS. III) THE LEFT OR RIGHT LEG MUSCLES ARE STIMULATED TO TRIGGER THE… view more 
CREDIT: WALK AGAIN PROJECT – ASSOCIAÇÃO ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT PARA APOIO À PESQUISA

In another major clinical breakthrough of the Walk Again Project, a non-profit international consortium aimed at developing new neuro-rehabilitation protocols, technologies and therapies for spinal cord injury, two patients with paraplegia regained the ability to walk with minimal assistance, through the employment of a fully non-invasive brain-machine interface that does not require the use of any invasive spinal cord surgical procedure. The results of this study appeared on the May 1 issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

The two patients with paraplegia (AIS C) used their own brain activity to control the non-invasive delivery of electrical pulses to a total of 16 muscles (eight in each leg), allowing them to produce a more physiological walk than previously reported, requiring only a conventional walker and a body weight support system as assistive devices. Overall, the two patients were able to produce more than 4,500 steps using this new technology, which combines a non-invasive brain-machine interface, based on a 16-channel EEG, to control a multi-channel functional electrical stimulation system (FES), tailored to produce a much smoother gait pattern than the state of the art of this technique.

“What surprised us was that, in addition to allowing these patients to walk with little help, one of them displayed a clear motor improvement by practicing with this new approach. Patients required approximatively 25 sessions to master the training before they were able to walk using this apparatus,” said Solaiman Shokur one of the authors of the study.

The two patients that used this new rehabilitation approach had previously participated in the long-term neurorehabilitation study carried out using the Walk Again Project Neurorehabilitation (WANR) protocol. As reported in a recent publication from the same team (Shokur et al., PLoS One, Nov. 2018), all seven patients who participated in that protocol for a period of 28 months improved their clinical status, from complete paraplegia (AIS A or B, meaning no motor functions below the level of the injury, according to the ASIA classification) to partial paraplegia (AIS C, meaning partial recovery of sensory and motor function below the injury level). This significant neurological recovery included major clinical improvements in sensory discrimination (tactile, nociception, vibration, and pressure), voluntary motor control of abdomen and leg muscles, and important gains in autonomic control, such as bladder, bowel, and sexual functions.

“The last two studies published by the Walk Again Project clearly indicate that partial neurological and functional recovery can be induced in chronic spinal cord injury patients by combining multiple non-invasive technologies that are based around the concept of using a brain-machine interface to control different types of actuators, like virtual avatars, robotic walkers, or muscle stimulating devices, to allow the total involvement of patients in their own rehabilitation routine,” said Miguel Nicolelis, scientific director of the Walk Again Project and one of the authors of the study.

In a recent report by another group, one AIS C and two AIS D patients were able to walk thanks to the employment of an invasive method for spinal cord electrical stimulation, which required a spinal surgical procedure. In contrast, in the present study two AIS C patients – which originally were AIS A (see Supplemental Material below)- and a third AIS B subject, who recently achieved similar results, were able to regain a significant degree of autonomous walking without the need for such invasive treatments. Instead, these patients only received electrical stimulation patterns delivered to the skin surface of their legs, so that a total of eight muscles in each limb could be electrically stimulated in a physiologically accurate sequence. This was done in order to produce a smoother and more natural pattern of locomotion.

“Crucial for this implementation was the development of a closed-loop controller that allowed real-time correction of the patients’ walking pattern, taking into account muscle fatigue and external perturbations, in order to produce a predefined gait trajectory. Another major component of our approach was the use of a wearable haptic display to deliver tactile feedback to the patients´ forearms in order to provide them with a continuous source of proprioceptive feedback related to their walking,” said Solaiman Shokur.

To control the pattern of electrical muscle stimulation in each leg, these patients utilized an EEG-based brain-machine interface. In this setup, patients learned to alternate the generation of “stepping motor imagery” activity in their right and left motor cortices, in order to create alternated movements of their left and right legs.

According to the authors, the patients exhibited not only “less dependency on walking assistance, but also partial neurological recovery, with substantial rates of motor improvement in one of them.” The improvement in motor control in this last AIS C patient was 9 points in the lower extremity motor score (LEMS), which was comparable with that observed using invasive spinal cord stimulation.

Based on the results obtained over the past 5 years, the WAP now intends to combine all its neurorehabilitation tools into a single integrated, non-invasive platform to treat spinal cord injury patients. This platform will allow patients to begin training soon after the injury occurs. It will also allow the employment of a multi-dimensional integrated brain-machine interface capable of simultaneously controlling virtual and robotic actuators (like a lowerlimb exoskeleton), a multi-channel non-invasive electrical muscle stimulation system (like the FES used in the present study), and a novel non-invasive spinal cord stimulation approach. In this final configuration, this WAP platform will incorporate all these technologies together in order to maximize neurological and functional recovery in the shortest possible time, without the need of any invasive procedure.

According to Dr. Nicolelis, “there is no silver bullet to treat spinal cord injuries. More and more, it looks like we need to implement multiple techniques simultaneously to achieve the best neurorehabilitation results. In this context, it is also imperative to consider the occurrence of cortical plasticity as a major component in the planning of our rehabilitation approach.”

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The other authors of this paper are Aurelie Selfslagh, Debora S.F. Campos, Ana R. C. Donati, Sabrina Almeida, Seidi Y. Yamauti, Daniel B. Coelho and Mohamed Bouri. This project was developed through a collaboration between the Neurorehabilitation Laboratory of the Associação Alberto Santos Dumont para Apoio à Pesquisa (AASDAP), the headquarters of the Walk Again Project, the Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), and the Laboratory of Robotic System at the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL). It was funded by a grant from the Brazilian Financing Agency for Studies and Projects (FINEP) 01.12.0514.00, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), to AASDAP.

Supplemental Material:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZbQeuJiSOI

Supporting Research Studies:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0206464

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-43041-9

 

via Brain-controlled, non-invasive muscle stimulation allows chronic paraplegics to walk | EurekAlert! Science News

 

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[ARTICLE] Mechanics and energetics of post-stroke walking aided by a powered ankle exoskeleton with speed-adaptive myoelectric control – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Ankle exoskeletons offer a promising opportunity to offset mechanical deficits after stroke by applying the needed torque at the paretic ankle. Because joint torque is related to gait speed, it is important to consider the user’s gait speed when determining the magnitude of assistive joint torque. We developed and tested a novel exoskeleton controller for delivering propulsive assistance which modulates exoskeleton torque magnitude based on both soleus muscle activity and walking speed. The purpose of this research is to assess the impact of the resulting exoskeleton assistance on post-stroke walking performance across a range of walking speeds.

Methods

Six participants with stroke walked with and without assistance applied to a powered ankle exoskeleton on the paretic limb. Walking speed started at 60% of their comfortable overground speed and was increased each minute (n00, n01, n02, etc.). We measured lower limb joint and limb powers, metabolic cost of transport, paretic and non-paretic limb propulsion, and trailing limb angle.

Results

Exoskeleton assistance increased with walking speed, verifying the speed-adaptive nature of the controller. Both paretic ankle joint power and total limb power increased significantly with exoskeleton assistance at six walking speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03, n04, n05). Despite these joint- and limb-level benefits associated with exoskeleton assistance, no subject averaged metabolic benefits were evident when compared to the unassisted condition. Both paretic trailing limb angle and integrated anterior paretic ground reaction forces were reduced with assistance applied as compared to no assistance at four speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that despite appropriate scaling of ankle assistance by the exoskeleton controller, suboptimal limb posture limited the conversion of exoskeleton assistance into forward propulsion. Future studies could include biofeedback or verbal cues to guide users into limb configurations that encourage the conversion of mechanical power at the ankle to forward propulsion.

Trial registration

N/A.

Background

Walking after a stroke is more metabolically expensive, leading to rapid exhaustion, limited mobility, and reduced physical activity [1]. Hemiparetic walking is slow and asymmetric compared to unimpaired gait. Preferred walking speeds following stroke range between < 0.2 m s− 1 and ~ 0.8 m s− 1 [2] compared to ~ 1.4 m s− 1 in unimpaired adults, and large interlimb asymmetry has been documented in ankle joint power output [34]. The ankle plantarflexors are responsible for up to 50% of the total positive work needed to maintain forward gait [56]; therefore, weakness of the paretic plantarflexors is especially debilitating, and as a result, the paretic ankle is often a specific target of stroke rehabilitation [78910]. In recent years, ankle exoskeletons have emerged as a technology capable of improving ankle power output by applying torque at the ankle joint during walking in clinical populations [78] and healthy controls [11121314]. Myoelectric exoskeletons offer a user-controlled approach to stroke rehabilitation by measuring and adapting to changes in the user’s soleus electromyography (EMG) when generating torque profiles applied at the ankle [15]. For example, a proportional myoelectric ankle exoskeleton was shown to increase the paretic plantarflexion moment for persons post-stroke walking at 75% of their comfortable overground (OVG) speed [8]; despite these improvements, assistance did not reduce the metabolic cost of walking or improve percent paretic propulsion. The authors suggested exoskeleton performance could be limited because the walking speed was restricted to a pace at which exoskeleton assistance was not needed.

Exoskeleton design for improved function following a stroke would benefit from understanding the interaction among exoskeleton assistance, changes in walking speed, and measured walking performance. Increases in walking speed post-stroke are associated with improvements in forward propulsion and propulsion symmetry [16], trailing limb posture [1718], step length symmetries [1719], and greater walking economies [1719]. This suggests that assistive technologies need to account for variability in walking speeds to further improve post-stroke walking outcomes. However, research to date has evaluated exoskeleton performance at only one walking speed, typically set to either the participant’s comfortable OVG speed or a speed below this value [78]. At constant speeds, ankle exoskeletons have been shown to improve total ankle power in both healthy controls [11] and persons post-stroke [8], suggesting the joint powers and joint power symmetries could be improved by exoskeleton technology. Additionally, an exosuit applying assistance to the ankle was able to improve paretic propulsion and metabolic cost in persons post-stroke walking at their comfortable OVG speed [7]. Assessing the impact of exoskeleton assistance on walking performance across a range of speeds is the next logical step toward developing exoskeleton intervention strategies targeted at improving walking performance and quality of life for millions of persons post-stroke.

In order to assess the impact of exoskeleton assistance across a range of walking speeds in persons post-stroke, we developed a novel, speed-adaptive exoskeleton controller that automatically modulates the magnitude of ankle torque with changes in walking speed and soleus EMG. We hypothesized that: 1) Our novel speed-adaptive controller will scale exoskeleton assistance with increases in walking speed as intended. 2) Exoskeleton assistance will lead to increases in total average net paretic ankle power and limb power at all walking speeds. 3) Exoskeleton assistance will lead to metabolic benefits associated with improved paretic average net ankle and limb powers.

Methods

Exoskeleton hardware

We implemented an exoskeleton emulator comprised of a powerful off-board actuation and control system, a flexible Bowden cable transmission, and a lightweight exoskeleton end effector [20]. The exoskeleton end effector includes shank and foot carbon fiber components custom fitted to participants and hinged at the ankle. The desired exoskeleton torque profile was applied by a benchtop motor (Baldor Electric Co, USA) to the carbon-fiber ankle exoskeleton through a Bowden-cable transmission system. An inline tensile load cell (DCE-2500 N, LCM Systems, Newport, UK) was used to confirm the force transmitted by the exoskeleton emulator during exoskeleton assistance.

Speed-adaptive proportional myoelectric exoskeleton controller

Our exoskeleton controller alters the timing and magnitude of assistance with the user’s soleus EMG signal and walking speed (Fig. 1). The exoskeleton torque is determined from Eq. 1, in which participant mass (mparticipant) is constant across speeds, treadmill speed (V) is measured in real-time, the speed gain (Gspeed) is constant for all subjects and across speeds, the adaptive gain (Gadp) is constant for a gait cycle and calculated anew for each gait cycle, and the force-gated and normalized EMG (EMGGRFgated) is a continuously changing variable.

τexo (t)=mparticipant×V×Gspeed×Gadp×EMGGRFgatedτexo (t)=mparticipant×V×Gspeed×Gadp×EMGGRFgated
(1)
Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Novel speed-adaptive myoelectric exoskeleton controller measures and adapts to users’ soleus EMG signal as well as their walking speed in order to generate the exoskeleton torque profile. Raw soleus EMG signal is filtered and rectified to create an EMG envelope, and the created EMG envelope is then gated by anterior GRFs to ensure assistance is only applied during forward propulsion. The adaptive EMG gain is calculated as a moving average of peak force-gated EMG from the last five paretic gait cycles. The pre-speed gain control signal is the product of the force-gated EMG and the adaptive EMG gain. The speed gain is determined using real-time walking speed and computed as 25% of the maximum biological plantarflexion torque at that given walking speed. Exoskeleton torque is the result of multiplying the speed gain with the pre-speed gain control signal

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Continue —> Mechanics and energetics of post-stroke walking aided by a powered ankle exoskeleton with speed-adaptive myoelectric control | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[ARTICLE] Compliant lower limb exoskeletons: a comprehensive review on mechanical design principles – Full Text

Abstract

Exoskeleton technology has made significant advances during the last decade, resulting in a considerable variety of solutions for gait assistance and rehabilitation. The mechanical design of these devices is a crucial aspect that affects the efficiency and effectiveness of their interaction with the user. Recent developments have pointed towards compliant mechanisms and structures, due to their promising potential in terms of adaptability, safety, efficiency, and comfort. However, there still remain challenges to be solved before compliant lower limb exoskeletons can be deployed in real scenarios. In this review, we analysed 52 lower limb wearable exoskeletons, focusing on three main aspects of compliance: actuation, structure, and interface attachment components. We highlighted the drawbacks and advantages of the different solutions, and suggested a number of promising research lines. We also created and made available a set of data sheets that contain the technical characteristics of the reviewed devices, with the aim of providing researchers and end-users with an updated overview on the existing solutions.

Background

Robotic wearable exoskeletons1 have potential impact in several application domains, like industry [1], space [2] and healthcare [3]. In the healthcare sector, this technology is expected to contribute by reducing the clinical costs associated with the assistance and rehabilitation of people with neurological and age-related disorders [3456]. Research in this area is clearly shifting toward the inclusion of compliant elements (i.e. actuators, structure2, etc.) as a way to overcome the main drawbacks of rigid exoskeletons, in terms of adaptability, comfort, safety and efficiency [7].

Currently, there is a large variety of designs of lower limb compliant exoskeletons aimed at gait rehabilitation or assistance. However, there is a lack of detailed information about the mechanical components of these devices, which has been largely overlooked by previous reviews (e.g. [789]). These variety and lack of information makes it difficult for developers to identify which design choices are most important for a specific application, user’s need or pathology. For this reason, we aimed to bring together available literature into a comprehensive review focused on existing lower limb wearable exoskeletons that contain compliant elements in their design.

In this work, we refer to ‘compliant exoskeleton’ as a system that includes compliant properties derived from non-rigid actuation system and/or structure. Our review focused on three particular aspects: the actuation technology, the structure of the exoskeleton and the interface attachment components3.

We have gathered the mechanical and actuation characteristics of 52 devices into standardized data sheets (available at Additional file 1), to facilitate the process of comparison of the different solutions under a unified and homogeneous perspective. We consider that such a comprehensive summary will be vital to researchers and developers in search for an updated design reference.

Methodology

We applied the following search query on the Scopus database: TITLE-ABS-KEY(“actuat*” AND (“complian*” OR “elastic*” OR “soft”) AND (“exoskeleton*” OR “rehabilitat*” OR “orthotic*” OR “orthos*” OR (“wearable” AND “robot*”)) OR “exosuit” OR “exo-suit”), which returned 1131 studies. We excluded: publications focusing on upper limb robots; non-actuated compliant exoskeletons; solutions where compliance was achieved through control; studies that did not report any mechanical information on the robot; and studies not related to either assistance or rehabilitation. The above process resulted in a total of 105 publications, which covered 52 different lower limb exoskeletons.

To simplify and structure the information, we classified the compliant exoskeletons according to the mechanical component that results in their intrinsic compliant performance: (i) exoskeletons with compliant actuators (i.e. series elastic, variable stiffness and pneumatic actuators) and rigid structure; (ii) exoskeletons with soft structure (soft exoskeletons4) and rigid actuators; (iii) exoskeletons with compliant actuators and soft structure. The review describes the different design choices of the exoskeletons, i.e. actuation system, structure and interfacing attachment components to connect the actuators with the human body.

A glossary with the most commonly used terms in this article has been added at the end of the document. Some definitions have been readapted from the literature.

Results

As shown in Fig. 1, 85% of the reviewed articles (corresponding to 44 exoskeletons) used compliant actuators and a rigid structure. Soft exoskeletons represent 11% of the reviewed articles (6 exoskeletons). Two exoskeletons (4%) belong to the intersection of previous groups, this is, exoskeletons integrating both soft structure and compliant actuation5. We refer to the latter as “fully compliant exoskeletons”.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Classification of the 52 lower limb exoskeletons according to their compliant mechanical component

 

Continue —>  Compliant lower limb exoskeletons: a comprehensive review on mechanical design principles | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[NEWS] Robotic Rehab Aims for the Home Market in Q3

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MotusNova

Motus Nova is expanding its list of partner hospitals and clinics using its FDA-approved robotic stroke therapy system. It also plans to introduce its system to the consumer market for home use in Q3 2019.

Twenty-five hospitals in the Atlanta area within Emory Healthcare, the Grady Health System, and the Wellstar Health System are now using the Motus Nova rehabilitation therapy system, which is designed to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate recovery from neurological injuries such as strokes.

The system features a Hand Mentor and Foot Mentor, which are sleeve-like robots that fit over a stroke survivor’s impaired hand or foot. Equipped with an active-assist air muscle and a suite of sensors and accelerometers, they provide clinically appropriate assistance and resistance while individual’s perform the needed therapeutic exercises.

A touchscreen console provides goal-directed biofeedback through interactive games—which Motus Nova calls “theratainment”—that make the tedious process of neuro rehab engaging and fun.

“It’s a system that has proven to be a valuable partner to stroke therapy professionals, where it complements skilled clinical care by augmenting the repetitive rehabilitation requirements of stroke recovery and freeing the clinician to do more nuanced care and assessment,” says Nick Housley, director of clinical research for Atlanta-based Motus Nova, in a media release.

“And while we continue to fill orders for the system to support therapy in the clinic and hospital, we also are looking to use our system to fill the gap patients often experience in receiving the needed therapy once they go home.”

Clinical studies show that neuroplasticity begins after approximately many 10’s to 100’s of hours of active guided rehab. The healing process can take months or years, and sometimes the individuals might never fully recover. Yet the typical regimen for stroke survivors is only two to three hours of outpatient therapy per week for a period of three to four months.

“These constraints were instituted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in determining Medicare reimbursement without a full understanding of the appropriate dosing required for stroke recovery, and many private insurers have adopted the policy, as well,” states David Wu, Motus Nova’s CEO.

Motus Nova plans to offer a more practical model, the release continues.

“By making the system available for home use at a reasonable weekly rate as long as the patient needs it, the individual can perform therapy anytime,” Wu adds. “A higher dosage of therapy can be achieved without the inconvenience of scheduling appointments with therapists or traveling to and from a clinic, and without the high cost of going to an outpatient center every time the individual wants to do therapy.”

While the system gathers data about individual performance, AI tailors the regimen to maximize user gains, discover new approaches, minimize side effects and help the stroke survivor realize his or her full potential more quickly.

“By optimizing factors such as frequency, intensity, difficulty, encouragement, and motivation, the AI system builds a personalized medicine plan uniquely tailored to each individual user of the system,” Housley comments.

“Our system is durable, too, proven in clinical trials to deliver an engaging physical therapy experience over thousands of repetitions. We look forward to making it available on a much wider scale in the coming months.”

[Source(s): Motus Nova, PR Newswire]

 

via Robotic Rehab Aims for the Home Market in Q3 – Rehab Managment

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[WEB SITE] Botox® Injection: Not Just for Celebrities’ Furrows and Wrinkles – Lower Extremity Review Magazine

Not at all: Plantar fasciitis is now a proven therapeutic target for onabotulinumtoxinA. Consider its potential value for your patients.

By Benn Jason Scott Boshell, MSc, BSc (Hons)

When people hear the word “Botox,”a their immediate associations might be with facial injection as an anti-wrinkle treatment or magazine gossip on the latest celebrity to suffer a “botch job” from one-too-many injections. Prior to the modern use of this acetylcholine-blocking neurotoxin, no one other than medical professionals who used it to treat their patients really knew what Botox is. Injections were originally used to treat neurological conditions that result in spastic paralysis, such as cerebral palsy.

In addition to managing neurological conditions and, more recently, for aesthetic enhancement, Botox is now being used to treat musculoskeletal disorders. One of these conditions is plantar fasciitis, the subject of this narrative review of the literature.b

a. Botox, the registered trade name of onabotulinumtoxinA, is used in this article for ease of reading.

b. Treatment of plantar fasciitis is not a US Food and Drug Administration-approved indication for Botox®.

How can Botox injection treat plantar fasciitis?

Botox is a neurotoxin that blocks release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in overactive muscles. Motor neurons release acetylcholine to activate muscles at the neuromuscular junction; Botox, when injected, causes relaxation of muscles and other local soft tissue.

A body of evidence identifies tightness in calf muscles as a causative factor in plantar fasciitis.1-5 Botox injection into the calf aims to relax contracture in calf muscles, thus reducing tensile strain on the plantar fascia as a result of muscle relaxation. Additionally, Botox can be injected into the muscles of the foot to achieve the same effect.

What is the evidence for Botox injection?

Key Messages

  • Botox injection into the calf aims to relax contracture in calf muscles, thus reducing tensile strain on the plantar fascia. Botox can also be injected into muscles of the foot for the same effect.
  • Improvement in plantar fasciitis pain after Botox injection has been reported to be sustained over the long term.
  • Major adverse effects of Botox are uncommon when injections are administered by a qualified clinician.

Several clinical studies have looked at the effectiveness of Botox injection for treating plantar fasciitis.

Botox injection compared with corticosteroid injection (2013). Elizondo-Rodriguez and co-workers’ level-1, double-blind, randomized controlled trial compared Botox injection to corticosteroid injection for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.6The study randomized participants into 2 groups:

  • Group 1 (19 participants) received a Botox injection and were instructed on performing plantar fascia stretching exercises.
  • Group 2 (17 partcipants) received a corticosteroid injection and the same instructions on plantar fascia stretching exercises.

Results of treatment were recorded at 2 weeks and at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months. No significant improvement was seen in either group after the initial 2-week review. However, both groups showed significant improvement in pain scores at 1 month. At 2-, 4-, and 6-months follow-up, the Botox group had significantly better pain scores than the corticosteroid group. At the final, 6-month review, the average pain score in the Botox group was 1.1 (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 the “worst pain”), a reduction from 7.1 (difference of 6 points); in the corticosteroid group, the average pain score was 3.8, a reduction from 7.7 (difference of 3.9 points).

Elizondo-Rodriguez therefore concluded that Botox injection is superior to corticosteroid injection for the treatment of plantar fasciitis over the short term and mid-term. A limitation of this study is that patients were not followed over a longer period; it is not known, therefore, whether participants would have maintained their improved pain scores 12 months’ posttreatment. Longer follow-up would help ascertain whether Botox is also successful in the long-term management of plantar fasciitis.

A particular point of interest from the Elizondo-Rodriguez study is that Botox was not injected into or around the plantar fascia but into the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Following injection, calf muscles went into a state of relaxation, due to the effect of Botox. It is believed that this relaxation reduced additional strain on the plantar fascia that results from increased calf-muscle tension. One could argue that this approach seeks to address the purported cause of plantar fasciitis—unlike corticosteroid injection, which aims to treat symptoms.

Figure 1: Medial (a) and plantar (b) views of the injection entry point for study patients. This is at the distal aspect of the plantar-medial aspect of the calcaneus where the plantar fascia is proximal and the flexor digitorum brevis is adjacent. The X marks the most common spot injected for patients based on their maximum point tenderness. The circle around the X is a 1.5-cm radius where some patients received their injection based on their maximum point of tenderness (used with permission from reference 12).

Botox injection compared with corticosteroid injection (2012). Díaz-Llopis and colleagues also compared Botox injection with corticosteroid injection.7 Their study was likewise a randomized, controlled trial, with 28 patients in each group. As in the Elizondo-Rodriguez study,6 Díaz-Llopis found both that Botox and corticosteroid injections were successful at 1-month review; however, the difference between the 2 treatments grew at 6 months, with the Botox group continuing to improve while the steroid group grew slightly worse.

Long-term follow-up of sustained effects of Botox injection (2013). The lead Díaz-Llopis investigator and a different group of co-workers8 returned to the findings of the original Díaz-Llopis study,7 conducting a 12-month follow-up of the 2012 Botox group to determine whether reported improvements were sustained over the long term, which they were. Their findings provide evidence to support the use of Botox injection as a long-term treatment option.

(Notably, the site of the Botox injection in the 2012 Díaz-Llopis study differed from the site used in the Elizondo-Rodriguez study. Instead of injecting into calf muscles, Díaz-Llopis injected Botox into the plantar fascia attachment to the heel bone and further along the arch of the foot; they decided to use this technique based on a 2005 study by Babcock and co-workers.9 By using the same injection technique that Babcock used, Díaz-Llopis and colleagues were able to determine whether they would achieve similar success.)

Botox injection compared with corticosteroid injection (2018). In a randomized, controlled trial reported this year, Roca and co-workers found Botox superior to corticosteroid injection.10

Botox injection compared with placebo. Babcock and colleagues compared Botox injection and placebo in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in 27 patients with plantar fasciitis.9 Results were recorded at 3 weeks and 8 weeks; improvement observed in the Botox group was significantly greater than in the placebo group. The strength of the study was limited by short-term follow-up.

Other studies have also compared Botox injection with placebo and found Botox to be significantly more effective.11,12 Ahmad and colleagues,12 in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of 50 patients (25 in each group) found Botox injection to be significantly superior to placebo at 6-month and 12-month reviews (Figure 1). The Botox group also showed significant reduction in plantar fascia thickness, which demonstrated healing of the degenerative plantar fascia—a finding not seen in the control group. A further benefit of Botox injection in this study was that it did not reduce heel fat-pad thickness, a commonly reported complication of corticosteroid injection.

Conversely, a similar study that compared Botox injection and placebo found only a marginal difference in improvement between the 2 groups:13 63.1% of the Botox group perceived improvement compared to 55% of the placebo group.

Botox injection compared with extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). Roca and co-workers’ study14 is interesting because ESWT has become an established, successful treatment option for plantar fasciitis.15 Because Botox injection is considered a novel treatment with less evidence of effectiveness, comparing it with an established treatment can be considered a good test of its effectiveness.

The Roca study randomized patients to 2 groups, 36 in each group. The researchers found both treatments effective—i.e., both demonstrated improved pain scores after treatment. However, ESWT came out on top, producing a greater reduction in pain than Botox injection.

A limitation of this study is that the researchers reviewed patients only 1 to 2 months after treatment. As noted, previous studies of Botox injection demonstrate continued improvement in pain score with more time. It is possible that the Botox group would have seen greater improvement in pain score if the researchers had reviewed that group at 6 and 12 months (although the same possibility can be considered for the ESWT group).

Are there risks to Botox injection?

Botox injection is generally safe; major adverse effects are uncommon when injection is administered by a suitably qualified clinician. There is a possibility (although highly unlikely) that the effect of botulinum toxin will spread to other parts of the body and cause botulism-like signs and symptoms, including:

  • muscle weakness all over the body
  • vision problems
  • difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of bladder control.

Can a verdict be brought?

Overall, it appears that the evidence for Botox injection as a treatment for plantar fasciitis is sufficiently strong to support its use. Nearly all current studies of moderate- to high-quality  demonstrate significant success with this treatment option.

Despite that conclusion, Botox injection is not a commonly used treatment option and—in the United Kingdom—is not widely available for treating plantar fasciitis; in the United States, Botox injection is not indicated by the Food and Drug Administration for treating plantar fasciitis. Nevertheless, Botox injection deserves greater study and consideration for its applicability to clinical practice for treating plantar fasciitis. This therapy might replace commonly used corticosteroid injection for plantar fasciitis, which has 1) a lower success rate over the long term and 2) an increased risk of harmful effects, including plantar fascia rupture.

The most effective Botox injection technique remains in question. In most studies, plantar fascia and surrounding tissue were injected directly; in some, calf muscles were injected. To determine which technique is better, it will be necessary to conduct a head-to-head trial of these 2 techniques.

Benn Jason Scott Boshell MSc, BSc (Hons) is clinical lead podiatrist at Hatt Health & Movement Clinic, Devizes, United Kingdom.

Source:
https://lermagazine.com/article/botox-injection-not-just-for-celebrities-furrows-and-wrinkles

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[ARTICLE] Whole-Body Vibration in Horizontal Direction for Stroke Rehabilitation: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Full Text

Abstract

Background

As most of the existing whole-body vibration (WBV) training programs provide vertical or rotatory vibration, studies on the effects of horizontal vibration have rarely been reported. The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of WBV in the horizontal direction on balance and gait ability in chronic stroke survivors.

Material/Methods

This study was designed as a randomized controlled trial. Twenty-one stroke survivors were randomly allocated into 2 groups (whole-body vibration group [n=9] and control group [n=12]). In the WBV group, WBV training in the horizontal direction was conducted for 6 weeks, and a conventional rehabilitation for 30 min, 3 days per week for a 6-week period, was conducted in both the WBV and control groups. Outcome variables included the static balance and gait ability measured before training and after 6 weeks.

Results

On comparing the outcome variables before and after training in the WBV group, significant differences were observed in the cadence and single support time of gait ability. However, there were no significant differences in other variables, including velocity, step length, stride length, and double support time. In addition, after training, no significant differences in all variables were observed between the 2 groups.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that WBV training in the horizontal direction has few positive effects on balance and gait function in chronic stroke survivors. However, further investigation is needed to confirm this.

Background

Stroke survivors suffer from central nervous system damage, with sensory and motor system damage, which leads to consequences such as decreased control of muscle tone, delay in muscle contraction, and absence of selective movement [1,2]. In addition, stroke survivors have unstable balance and poor gait ability, which naturally limits their activities of daily living and participation in the community, while losing independence [2,3]. Consequently, the first priority for stroke survivors is recovery of independent activities, and for this, the recovery of balance in a standing posture and gait abilities is essential.

For functional recovery of stroke survivors, various methods have been suggested [4], and whole-body vibration (WBV) is a relatively novel form of exercise intervention that could improve functional recovery [5]. WBV involves the use of a vibrating platform in a static position or while performing dynamic movements. In previous studies, it was suggested that WBV training could improve physical functions. Castrogiovanni et al. [6] reported that a multi-component training, including aerobic activity and other types of training (resistance and/or strength exercises), is the best kind of exercise for improving bone mass and bone metabolism in elderly people and especially in osteopenic and osteoporotic women. With regard to whole-body vibration training, studies have suggested that it could be a valid method. Pichler et al. [7] reported that mechanical stimulation such as treadmill and vibration stimulation training inhibits the activity of RANKL in osteoporosis. In addition, Musumeci et al. [8] suggested that, in certain diseases such as osteoporosis, mechanical stimulation including treadmill and vibration platform training could be a possible therapeutic treatment. Based on their results, they proposed the hypothesis that physical activity could also be used as a therapeutic treatment for cartilage diseases such as osteoarthritis. Van Nes et al. [9] introduced WBV as a means of somatic sensory stimulation for functional recovery of stroke survivors. They also reported that somatosensory stimulation through WBV can significantly improve muscle performance, balance, and daily activities. Balance, defined as the ability to maintain the center of pressure (COP) on the support surface in given circumstances, can be held through adjusted harmony of visual, vestibular, and somatic sensory system [10], and vibration stimulation is reported to cause small changes in the skeletal muscle length of the human body and affect the motor neurons to facilitate activation of the spinal reflexes through short spindle-motor neuron connections [11].

Balance is a major component required for controlling or maintaining the COP in mobility and locomotion in which the support surface changes [12]. The information on changes of the support surface along with the biomechanic information needed for movement control is passed on to the central nervous system by muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs, and joint receptors in the proprioception sense; thus, they have a very important role in controlling balance [13,14]. In addition, Muller and Redfern [15] performed a comparative analysis of the latency of beginning muscle activity by measuring electromyogram (EMG) activation degree of muscle strength of the lower extremities caused by movement of the COP while the support surface moved back and forth. Consequently, the latency of activation of the tibialis anterior muscle was rapid on the support surface moving forward and that of the soleus muscle was rapid when moving backward. Given these reports, for recovery of balance ability, the horizontal vibration in all directions might be needed more than the vertical or rotatory vibration provided by the original WBV training. Additionally, our bodies maintain standing posture using ankle strategy, hip strategy, or both [16]. The ankle strategy, which is the postural control strategy that starts first in postural sway, enables immediate recovery of standing balance through ankle joint muscle contraction [16]. Horizontal vibration, therefore, may significantly activate not only stimulation of somatosensory, but also ankle strategy or hip strategy.

However, since most of the existing WBV training programs provide only vertical or rotatory vibrations, studies on effects of horizontal vibrations have been rarely reported. Accordingly, the present study examined the effects of horizontal WBV in an antero-posterior or medio-lateral direction on balance and gait abilities of stroke survivors.[…]

Continue —> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408868/#__sec6title

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Figure 2
Whole-body vibration in horizontal direction.

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[WEB SITE] Formula 1 Creates World’s Lightest Wheelchair

When we talk about traveling with a wheelchair, the most important thing that comes to mind is the space and weight of the wheelchair.

Keeping this in mind, a Swiss company has recently partnered with Formula One, a renowned race car organization.

The co-venture will be creating the world’s lightest wheelchair. Küschall, the wheelchair manufacturing company, is focusing on utilizing aerospace materials and redefining the rules of creating a wheelchair, and working with Formula 1 will help them ensure an ultimate driving experience.

The superstar wheelchair, created by the project leader and industrial designer Küschall Andre Fangueiro, is expected to weigh only 1.5 kg. It happens to be 30% lighter and 20% more powerful compared to wheelchairs used normally (classic carbon models). 

Considering graphene is 200 times more powerful and stronger than steel, the chair is built using the same material. The material is also known to be 10 times tougher than a diamond. However, the seat is super flexible and light in weight, which is amazing.

The bound is made up of hexagonal lattice and it is a single layer of carbon atoms.

The company released a press release and noted, “Superb power transfer through the entire frame will mean the Superstar responds rapidly with every movement, combined with impressive road dampening properties, the Superstar will provide an effortless glide anywhere you go,” – Kval.com

The X shape of the geometry will result in the performance boost. As of now, the details of release date, production, and cost of the product haven’t revealed, but we are excited about this new concept combat design where users can utilize its high performance and comfort.

We will keep you updated for upcoming announcements on the same.

Image credit: https://kval.com/news/offbeat/design-company-teams-up-with-formula-1-to-create-worlds-lightest-wheelchair

More about formula, one, wheelchair, superstar

Formula 1 Creates World’s Lightest Wheelchair – Rolling Without Limits: Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

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[VIDEO] Indego Therapy – Alice’s Story — Anatomical Concepts (UK)

MEET ALICE

After her brain injury, there seemed little hope for recovery. With the right therapy, tools and attitude she has defied all odds.
Her stepfather, Bob, and therapists at More Rehab tell us her story, her rehabilitation journey so far, and the particular benefits of walking therapy with the Indego exoskeleton.

We’re sure you agree that she is an extraordinary woman!
We also hope that you can see that it is a combination of great therapy, excellent technology, incredible support and hard work that creates results. Here at Anatomical Concepts we focus on the Technology, and we partner with great therapists (just like More Rehab) who we know will give a high standard of support, training and encouragement.

You can learn a lot more about Indego here or complete the form below and we’ll be in touch!

via Indego Therapy – Alice’s Story — Anatomical Concepts (UK)

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[WEB SITE] An AFO for Every Need

 

New York OMC offers a proven collection of AFOS. High quality products offered by New York OMC include STI-Dynamic AFO, STI-Dynamic Overlap Joint, BRK-1 AFO, BRX-1 AFO, QNS-1 AFO, and Superflex AFO. The STI-Dynamic AFO treats indications PTTD, ankle injuries and sprains, medial and lateral ankle instability, subtalar joint instability, sinus tarsi, and foot drop. The STI-Dynamic Overlap Joint features custom molded overlap uprights, three Velcro closures, soft interface lining, high medial and lateral flanges to increase support, and hind foot and forefoot posting. The BRK-1 AFO utilizes rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible reinforcement materials to match the exact diagnosis with the appropriate amount of support required. The BRX-1 AFO is suitable for indications PTTD, charcot deformities, ankle instabilities, abnormal ankle alignment traumatic injury, and arthritis; and is available with lace, Velcro, or boot hooks closure. The Superflex AFO treats many of the same indications as the BRX-1 AFO and is built with durable vegetable dyed leather and full interface lining cushions to protect fragile skin. The QNS-1 AFO is built with a 1” custom padded collar for increased patient comfort and compliance; the flexible-molded integrated AFO allows for dynamic biomechanical function.

via An AFO for Every Need | Lower Extremity Review Magazine

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[Abstract] Action observation therapy for improving arm function, walking ability, and daily activity performance after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

This study was to investigate the effectiveness of action observation therapy on arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait performance, and activities of daily living in stroke patients.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Searches were completed in January 2019 from electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, and OTseeker.

Two independent reviewers performed data extraction and evaluated the study quality by the PEDro scale. The pooled effect sizes on different aspects of outcome measures were calculated. Subgroup analyses were performed to examine the impact of stroke phases on treatment efficacy.

Included were 17 articles with 600 patients. Compared with control treatments, the action observation therapy had a moderate effect size on arm and hand motor outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.564; P < 0.001), a moderate to large effect size on walking outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.779; P < 0.001), a large effect size on gait velocity (Hedge’s g = 0.990; P < 0.001), and a moderate to large effect size on activities of daily function (Hedge’s g = 0. 728; P = 0.004). Based on subgroup analyses, the action observation therapy showed moderate to large effect sizes in the studies of patients with acute/subacute stroke or those with chronic stroke (Hedge’s g = 0.661 and 0.783).

This review suggests that action observation therapy is an effective approach for stroke patients to improve arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait velocity, and daily activity performance.

via Action observation therapy for improving arm function, walking ability, and daily activity performance after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Tzu-Hsuan Peng, Jun-Ding Zhu, Chih-Chi Chen, Ruei-Yi Tai, Chia-Yi Lee, Yu-Wei Hsieh, 2019

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