Robotic gait rehabilitation and substitution devices in neurological disorders: where are we now?

Gait abnormalities following neurological disorders are often disabling, negatively affecting patients’ quality of life. Therefore, regaining of walking is considered one of the primary objectives of the rehabilitation process. To overcome problems related to conventional physical therapy, in the last years there has been an intense technological development of robotic devices, and robotic rehabilitation has proved to play a major role in improving one’s ability to walk. The robotic rehabilitation systems can be classified into stationary and overground walking systems, and several studies have demonstrated their usefulness in patients after severe acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. In this review, the authors want to highlight which are the most widely used devices today for gait neurological rehabilitation, focusing on their functioning, effectiveness and challenges. Novel and promising rehabilitation tools, including the use of virtual reality, are also discussed.

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