A stroke can occur when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain resulting in brain cell death. This causes weakness in parts of the body, affects balance, and in around 85% of stroke survivors walking has to be retrained. In many cases gait problems, such as balance impairment, persist after walking has been relearnt.
We are working in collaboration with Wellington Hospital in London to investigate the efficacy of Path Finder as a tool to aid in stroke rehabilitation. So far, we have found it to increase walking symmetry and speed, as demonstrated in the videos below. We further found, that there may be a carry over effect, and hence prolonged benefit, after using Path Finder.
Rehabilitation methods focus on increasing muscle strength, motor control and balance. Currently, physiotherapists tend to use treadmill exercises with or without an added support. These act to increase walking speed and balance as well as confidence when moving.
The literature has shown visual cueing to increase stride length and walking speed in those recovering from stroke by more than 10%. The use of visual cues also act to improve walking symmetry, balance and functional mobility in stroke rehabilitation. In a study by Hollands et al., both symmetry and walking speed increased in patients after only one or two sessions of visual cueing (Hollands et al., 2015).