The National Institutes of Health has created what it claims is the first robotic exoskeleton that is designed to treat crouch gait in children who have cerebral palsy.
Crouch gait occurs when there is excessive bending of the knees while walking. It is a common condition in children with cerebral palsy. The NIH reports that even with conventional treatments, crouch gait can develop into the degeneration of walking function and eventually the loss of walking ability in about half of adults with the disorder.
NIH Clinical Center researchers tested a prototype of the exoskeleton to determine if the motors were safe and effective for reducing crouch gait and evaluate its effects on voluntary muscle activity. The exoskeleton offers powered knee extension assistance during key point while walking.