Voyar is introducing with its FROG assistive walker a more effective gait training and support solution for users with mobility impairments.
Many diseases, injuries or birth defects compromise mobility of children. First of all Cerebral palsy (CP), with an incidence of 3.6 per 1,000 live births in developed nations. Furthermore, there are neuromuscular disorders, Spina bifida, paralysis and spinal cord injuries. Compromised mobility represents a drastic impact in terms of social interaction and quality of life. Cardiovascular health and bone structure are negatively impacted. Availability of walking aids for mobility training from very young age is important.
But also adults and elderly need walkers. Some might still be affected by above conditions from birth and continue to rely on support for walking. Others have developed mobility impairments with age, for example due to stroke or neurological disorders.
Mobility is a large part of quality of life, and plays a pivotal role in social development and psychological function of the child. Mobility also improves the general cardiovascular and bone health.
Physical impairment is a real problem to the patient and the family. But also on a societal level, there are significant direct and indirect economic costs associated with it. Unfortunately, for most conditions there is currently no cure and supportive treatments are limited to non-invasive therapies such as physiotherapies, orthotics, postural management and medications.
Children who are ambulant (up to 80% of all CP children) commonly use anterior and posterior posture walkers to improve their walking. These paediatric walkers include gait trainers that provide these children with trunk and pelvic support. There is good evidence that such gait trainers help the users improve their motor function and can also be used as part of their therapy to develop independent walking. Recent systematic review of the use of gait trainers in a total of 182 children demonstrated descriptive evidence of positive motor outcomes, especially in improving their stepping as well as walking distance.
There is also evidence that gait trainers may have a positive impact on body structure and function, activity and participation outcomes including increased levels of overall independence, mobility, transfers and self-care abilities. It is recommended that the gait trainers should be introduced early around 9 to 12 months of age when upright positioning and mobility can potentially impact the children’s motor, sensory, visual and social development.
One of the practical challenges in engaging these children in physiotherapy and gait training with a walker is that they tire easily. It has been shown that children and adolescents with CP have elevated energy expenditure when standing. During therapy, children with CP need to take frequent breaks to rest. To do so, they have to leave their walker to sit down. Furthermore, getting up from rest and entering the walker again is also very tiring and requires assistance due to their baseline muscular weakness and body posture. The resting periods disrupt training and cumulatively lead to further patient exhaustion and reduced intervention time. The problem of fatigue and need for frequent transfers to rest also reduces the effectiveness of gait trainers as an assistive device to enhance the children’s mobility and participation in daily activities.
FROG addresses fatigue and eliminates the need for frequent assisted transfers when using conventional gait trainers by incorporating a resting seat.
An integrated, patented weight-compensation mechanism enables easy and autonomous transition from sitting to standing and vice versa.
When seated, the compensation mechanism exercises a counter force against the weight of the user, assisting in standing up.
The mechanism provides space for walking and easy access for the next deployment, stabilizing the user in transition from sitting to standing.
Control of caster wheels
Caster wheels are independently adjustable in three steps for each swivelling direction and separately for each of the casters; providing the therapist maximum control to balance stability in gait with manoeuvrability. Constraints can be released progressively as the training progresses.
Paediatric walker with seat
The weight compensation mechanism is adjustable to suit the body weight of the child in to provide just the right lift. Folding of the seat is always easy: the force required for folding is independent from the lift force selected. The folding seat can be deployed by the child without assistance.
Body size adjustment
Frog can be adjusted to suit a large variety of body sizes and postures. It can grow with the child, from baby to adolescent. Height and width of the frame can be increased in three steps. Seat and armrest height as well as width can be adjusted in incremental steps via quick locks. Handles can be pivoted to suit different postures.
Anti-reverse bearings are used at the rear wheels preventing involuntary backward movement with the danger of falls. This mechanism ensures confident movement and safety without being compromised in wet conditions as is the case for the conventional break mechanisms found on walkers.
Frog can be easily folded to a flat format in order to fit into the trunks of compact cars and reduced storage space.