Reciprocating gait orthosis, RGO

Tania van Twisk, RGO 2014

RGOs are often prescribed for individuals with paralysis due to spinal cord injury or conditions like post-polio syndrome. RGOs have been successfully used for children with spina bifida starting as young as 2.5 years old and have also seen success in other pediatric diagnoses. Adult paraplegics often choose wheelchairs as their preferred mode of transportation but the mobility of an RGO offers a familiar and compelling kind of freedom.

An RGO is full body orthotic device that makes it possible to have a pelvic rotation that imitates natural biomechanics and gait – physiological rotation during walking. Rehabilitation training is intense with big rewards but requires dedication and encouragement.

Mechanical RGOs for rehab have advanced over the years and typically consist of bilateral KAFOs (also HKAFO) with a combination of locking knee joints, hip joints, and a custom-molded pelvic girdle and a thoracic extension. Traditionally, hip joints are coupled with cables to prevent bilateral hip flexion simultaneously. The hip extension on one side coupling hip flexion on the other side through the cables produces the characteristic reciprocal walking gait pattern.

Modern RGO control has been enhanced with software and stepper motors. Exoskeletons are increasingly employed in rehab with incredible results. Advanced exoskeletons provide varying degrees of functional muscle stimulation for wearers.

Tania van Twisk walking with Ekso – Losing your mobility brings you back to the point where you are once again confronted with the reality that to be able to walk, is a blessing. Tania’s first attempts were difficult but we all knew that she is a fighter and that with the necessary training and commitment, she would achieve what she wanted. Today, Tania can walk and feels it does a lot for one’s self-esteem to get up from a chair and look people in the eye. Published on YouTube Nov 20, 2012
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