Often neurological issues such as stroke  result in unilateral weakness, where one side of the body is weaker than the other. When this occurs, physical therapy is often used to help retrain the muscles – and the brain – to function properly.
Physical therapy  is all about repetition. The more exact repetitions of an exercise that an individual does, the more likely neuroplasticity will occur. In fact, it has been estimated that 600 to 1000 repetitions are necessary to remap neurons and achieve lasting results. Unfortunately, even the best physical therapists are human. It’s difficult for us to guide an individual through an exercise routine and replicate exactly every movement, every time.
Thankfully, devices like the AlterG Bionic Leg (formerly Tibion Bionic Leg) and other rehabilitation technologies  can often help physical therapists and their patients replicate activities to achieve lasting results.
The AlterG (formerly Tibion) is a robotic device that provides sensor-based assistance and resistance to the affected leg of patients. It is intention based, meaning that it augments the strength of the patient and requires the patient’s effort to activate. The AlterG (formerly Tibion), which weighs seven pounds, is worn on the patient’s leg and a therapist is needed to guide the patient through his or her exercises.
Best of all, the AlterG (formerly Tibion) allows patients to activate their muscles multiple times in exactly the same fashion every time. This type of consistency would be impossible with manual therapy alone.
The AlterG (formerly Tibion) helps in the process, but the physical therapist still plays an integral role in the therapy process. The physical therapist assesses the patient’s function and determines how much effort will be required on the part of the patient to activate the device.
The physical therapist also pinpoints the areas of concentration for the therapy session and guides the patient through the process, providing verbal and physical cues and additional feedback. Of course, the physical therapist always assumes the roles of motivator and cheerleader to achieve optimal results.
In Good Shepherd’s Neurorehabilitation Program , we have been using the AlterG Bionic Leg (formerly Tibion Bionic Leg) since April and early results are encouraging. We have seen short-term improvement among patients following only a few sessions with the AlterG (formerly Tibion). In one instance, an individual with multiple sclerosis  went from walking only 20 feet with the help of a walker to walking more than 250 feet while wearing the AlterG (formerly Tibion). This progress was evident following only four sessions with the device.
By combining the state-of-the-art science of the AlterG Bionic Leg (formerly Tibion Bionic Leg) with the ingenuity of experienced physical therapists, a comprehensive treatment plan can be developed to improve the goals of patients. For individuals who are 5 to 10 years post stroke or neurological event, this development provides the hope for results that could improve mobility, confidence and overall quality of life.
Good Shepherd is the first facility to use the AlterG Bionic Leg (formerly Tibion Bionic Leg) in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Read the press release .