Berlin, Vt – “The field of neurologic rehabilitation is making a shift from focusing on teaching patients to compensate from their injuries to a model of recovery from their injuries due to recent findings about the plasticity of the brain,” explained Hannah Zajac PT, DPT, NCS. She is Central Vermont Medical Center’s Neurologic Certified Specialist, one of only two in Vermont.
To augment this, CVMC Rehab has recently acquired a WalkAide for use with rehabilitation patients, thanks to the Central Vermont Medical Center Auxiliary. WalkAide is a type of “neuroprosthesis” or “functional electrical stimulation” that is used mostly on patients with neurologic dysfunction such as cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis to name a few.
The device is a small cuff that is worn just below the knee joint that gives an electrical signal to the muscles of the shin to allow the toes to lift when a patient cannot. This is important because instead of using bracing, which is a passive treatment, WalkAide is active and can allow for motor learning. Instead of learning to compensate, some patients can experience recovery of function. What is also very special about this is that the physical therapist programs the device specific to the patients needs, and can adapt the settings as the patient improves using Bluetooth and a small laptop.
Several of CVMC’s physical therapists took the training course to be certified to use and program this device for rehab patients, making CVMC one of only two rehabilitation facilities in the state of Vermont to offer this type of rehab. Certified therapists can also program existing WalkAides worn by members of the community.
This treatment is safe and effective on both children and adults, with both acute and chronic injuries. If you would like to learn more about WalkAide, you can visit their website at:
This service will be offered at both the Barre-Montpelier Road Rehabilitation Center and at the CVMC Orthopedic and Rehab Center on Granger Road.