The rehabilitation centre at Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital has acquired a new piece of vital equipment that will help children in recovery learn to walk again.
The LOKOMAT is a robotic walking device that assists people with spinal cord injuries and other damage to the central nervous system.
The Marie Enfant Rebalitation Centre at Sainte-Justine is the first hospital in Quebec to buy the robotic gait training device, and are set to provide therapy to 500 children four to 18 years-old.
The LOKOMAT moves the patient's feet along a treadmill, recreating the action of walking.
It lets a physiotherapist program how much weight a patient's body will bear, the speed of the treadmill and what percentage of motion is directed by the patient and by the machine.
'By my birthday next year, for sure I'll be walking.' - Emmanuel Mavridakis, Marie Enfant Rebalitation Centre patient
“Before we used to do it moving the person's feet, and it was done manually so it was really hard on the therapist,” said Dominique Auger, head of rehabilitation at Sainte-Justine.
Fourteen-year-old Emmanuel Mavridakis hasn't walked on his own since last summer.
He suffered a spinal cord injury in a serious accident on an all-terrain vehicle, and today he stands upright in a harness.
Since starting with the LOKOMAT, he says he's already seeing changes.
"The muscle tone in my legs has increased. It's better like this because I get the feeling that I'm actually walking,” said Mavridakis.
The LOKOMAT also allows for longer sessions, which contributes to better cardiovascular health.
"By my birthday next year, for sure I'll be walking," said Mavridakis.
The device was purchased for $650,000 thanks to the support of the Sainte-Justine Foundation and Fondation Mélio.