Strokes, also knowns as cerebrovascular accidents, or CVA, are caused by either a clot or a bleed in the brain. They can affect approximately 3% of the adult population with around 800,000 strokes occurring in the USA in a given year. Although there are medical interventions that can help improve the outlook of a stroke if performed early, such as “clot busting” medications or surgery to remove the clot, there is a narrow window in which they can be safely performed. Without interventions, a person who has a stroke is often left with functional deficits which can include:

  • Trouble speaking

  • Muscle weakness which typically affects one side of the body and can varying from mild weakness to complete paralysis (loss of movement)

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Difficulty Swallowing

  • Impaired Vision

  • Headaches

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness

After the patient has been stabilized they typically transfer from a hospital to a rehab unit to receive ongoing Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. The patient will spend several hours each day working on addressing their functional deficits. Rehabilitation stays can be as short as a week, or can last up to several months, which depends on the severity of the person’s symptoms and how quickly they recover. They will then follow up with Outpatient therapy where the patient will come into a clinic several times per week to work with their therapists to continue progressing their strength and independence in order to reach their goals.

Throughout their recovery, patients will typically receive intensive therapies focused on recovering strength and function, or compensatory strategies in cases restoration of function is not possible. For some individuals, that can mean that the person is unable to walk without help, and may need a wheelchair to safely negotiate their environment in order to return home. Although improvement have been made to wheelchairs since their invention, they still leave something to be desired in their bulkiness and ability to navigate smaller environments, as well as needing to transfer out of the wheelchair to complete certain therapies/interventions. These effects can be compounded by the limited time available dedicated to their therapy team. In an “ideal" situation a patient recover on an inpatient rehab unit, spending 3 hours a day between therapy disciplines. This amounts to just 12% of their day. Meaning that the remaining 88% of their day is spent on their own, outside of a therapy setting. People need a better way to continue to work on and improve their strength outside of a traditional therapy setting.

This is what LegMaker’s goal is. As an FES bike it works to exercise the muscle that patients are unable to activate on their own. This helps with strength and mobility, but also improves circulation and can help to lessen uncomfortable spams that might occur in the person’s legs. This is combined with the technology to attach to a wheelchair to make it possible to use this technology wherever the patient is. Unlike traditional stationary equipment, they have the option to work out wherever they are, meaning they can keep strengthening and working on improving their quality of life outside of a single therapy session. This will benefit the patient as they are able to make better use of the 88%, or more, of their time that is spent outside of therapy. The benefits of giving the patient increased control and independence with their therapy will not only include the obvious physical benefits of exercises, but also will help to improve the mental health and mood of these individuals who are able to be more self sufficient and independent in their everyday lives.

Abbie Klein PT, DPT, Nikita Chizhov, CEO , Anastasia Galkina COO

Nikita Chizhov