In July 2019, a preliminary 6 weeks study by Leah S Goudy, Brandon Rhett Rigby and a team from Texas Woman’s University, using the MiraColt, showed that the simulated horseback riding improved balance and cognitive impairment in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.Continue reading
Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that affects movement, posture, and muscle tone. It often occurs as the result of abnormal brain development or brain trauma. Depending on the type of cerebral palsy, the effects and severity of the condition will vary.
March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, so it’s essential that we begin to understand this disorder and the way that it affects people. About five hundred thousand children and adults in the United States experience at least one symptom.
A better understanding of CP allows us to spread awareness and takes steps toward support, research, and unity.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
- Spastic diplegia/diparesis: Mainly manifests as stiffness in the legs. Due to hip and leg muscle tightness, legs can turn inward, knees can cross (scissoring), or legs can pull together, making walking difficult.
- Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis: This subset affects only one side of the body, usually affecting the arms more than the legs.
- Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis: This is the most severe form of spastic cerebral palsy, as it affects all four limbs as well as the individual’s torso and face. Spastic quadriparesis usually affects one’s ability to walk and may be accompanied by intellectual disabilities. This form of CP may also bring seizures and issues with hearing, vision, and speech.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Simply put, mixed CP occurs when individuals experience symptoms of more than one type of CP. The most common type of mixed cerebral palsy is spastic dyskinetic CP.
Regardless of the type of CP, a common symptom that people with this disorder experience are issues controlling their bodies. Certain therapies, such as physical, occupational, speech, and language therapies, can be implemented to assist in gaining better control of bodily functions. Additionally, the use of adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs, lifts, and gait trainers can be helpful for people with CP.
To help with gait training as well as activating thousands of muscles simultaneously, Chariot Innovations has created the MiraColt hippotherapy simulator to help those with CP achieve greater stability, strength, and control of their bodies without the need for a live horse. Educating yourself and others about CP is a great way to celebrate cerebral palsy awareness month in March as well as all other months. This month, wear green to show your support and, when possible, use the hashtag “#GoGreen4CP” on your online posts.
Hemiplegic gait means that a patient stands with unilateral weakness—one side of the body is weaker than the other and can affect the side, an arm when flexed, adducted, or rotated internally. It can appear in the leg on the same side in extension with issues in the foot and toes, such as plantar flexion (movement where the top of the foot points away from the leg). This is associated with standing on tip toes or simply pointing them. Hemiplegic gait can limit abilities to control these limbs.
Typically, with this type of gait, a patient will hold the arm to one side and drag the affected leg in a semicircle referred to as “circumduction” because of the weak distal muscles. This is most commonly seen following a stroke. If the effects are minor, mild paralysis of the one side may be the only abnormalities.
Spastic Diplegic Gait
Ataxic (Cerebellar) Gait
Sensory gait, or Sensory Ataxic gait, is loss of proprioceptive input (the body’s ability to receive input through receptors.) This means that the patient is experiencing difficulty feeling the ground when their feet touch it. Often people who experience this type of gait will slam their feet on the ground in an effort to sense when and where their feet landed. This can be exacerbated in the dark when someone who experiences this cannot see their feet. This condition may also be referred to as a “stomping gait” as patients lift their legs higher than usual to hit the ground harder.
This gait is common in people with disorders of the dorsal columns or in diseases that affect their peripheral nerves. In its severest form, this gait can cause an ataxia that will resemble the Ataxic gait.
We at Chariot Innovations understand there are several common types of gait disorders. Even with known effects, each gait disorder affects an individual in its own way.. Difficulty with mobility and with a walking gait can be debilitating, frustrating, and exhausting. The MiraColt is designed to target thousands of muscles simultaneously to provide support, comfort, and help with strength and flexibility. There are so many benefits that come with equine riding therapy. Being able to use it from the comfort of a controlled environment can help with consistency and training during many types of therapy.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Walking can help greatly with stroke recovery. Depending on the type of stroke, different parts of the body can need help gaining strength and mobility. A lot of people turn to hippotherapy (horseback riding) to build core and muscle strength, mimic the walking gate of a horse—which is very similar to the human gait—and help with balance and flexibility. It may be difficult to get out to a real horse, though, which is why Chariot Innovations has created the MiraColt– therapeutic horseback riding equipment to allow for the same work to be done from the comfort of a therapy facility.