Wearable Robot Helps People Walk Again

Exoskeleton that has enabled over 125 million steps around the world now available in Central Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (May 18, 2021)Syndicated Article from Sheltering Arms Institute

Sheltering Arms Institute, a collaboration with VCU Health, is enhancing its rehabilitation programs by now offering the EksoNR™ robotic exoskeleton to help patients who have experienced neurological illness or injury learn to walk again.

Sheltering Arms Institute is the first inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Virginia to have an EksoNR clinical program. The Sheltering Arms Institute outpatient location in Hanover has also acquired an EksoNR, providing hospital patients the opportunity to continue using the device on an outpatient basis as they progress in their recovery.

Each year, nearly 60 million people suffer from acquired brain injury, 15 million suffer a stroke, and as many as 500,000 experience a spinal cord injury (SCI). EksoNR is the first exoskeleton approved by the FDA for use with stroke and spinal cord injuries and the only exoskeleton with FDA approval for use with acquired brain injury patients.

“The EksoNR offers many unique benefits to our patients who are relearning to walk, as the device promotes early mobilization and can help improve gait speed and distance, which are critical factors for optimal recovery,” said Amber Walter, PT, DPT, NCS, director of clinical science at Sheltering Arms Institute.

The wearable robotic device offers patients upper trunk support and the opportunity to practice over-ground walking early on in their recovery process, retraining the brain and muscles how to properly walk again. This cutting-edge exoskeleton technology helps patients re-learn correct step patterns, weight shifting, and posture. Additionally, this device has shown promising results in walking speed, endurance, lower extremity strength, and functional mobility for persons with spinal cord injury.

Clinical evidence suggests that including EksoNR gait training in inpatient rehabilitation for stroke improves independence in functional mobility. Most patients take an average of 400 steps during first-time training in the device.

The purchase of the two EksoNR devices and support for ongoing staff training is funded by generous donors to Sheltering Arms Foundation.



  1. Photos of the EksoNR

Dianne Jewell
Public Information Officer

About Sheltering Arms Institute

Sheltering Arms and VCU Health System have formed a joint venture, Sheltering Arms Institute, a state-of-the-science physical rehabilitation hospital and network of outpatient centers, that brings together the brand and clinical reputation of Sheltering Arms and the nationally ranked programs and research of VCU Health. The Institute blends advanced technology, research, and evidence-based clinical treatment to create an innovative, transdisciplinary model of rehabilitative care that facilitates superior outcomes for patients. For more information, please visit www.shelteringarmsinstitute.com.

About Sheltering Arms

Sheltering Arms Corporation is part owner, along with VCU Health, of Sheltering Arms Institute. Sheltering Arms also offers a vast array of fitness, wellness, and recreation services, including its mission-driven day recreation program, Club Rec. To learn more, visit www.shelteringarms.com or call (804) 764-1000.

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