Have you ever slipped on the ice or simply lost your balance? Well then you know the feeling of falling. Falls are often the cause behind injuries that put many folks into physical therapy. it's a process that can be frustrating and even scary but there's a new tool that is improving patient safety and helping get them back on their feet.
"We'll get you hooked up." Said Avera St. Luke's physical therapist Carl Bot.
It may look like Trista Nickelson is getting ready to join the circus, but this safety harness and support track is not for the trapeze, it's for rehabbing injuries and rebuilding confidence.
"This is a system that can be used for anything from retraining balance to even gait training with a new prosthetic device." Said Bot.
It's called the SoloStep. While the therapy is nothing new, the equipment just expands the safety and freedom of the physical therapy while eliminating fear.
"Really what it allows us to do is it allows us to take people who have either weakness or balance issues and really let them exercise or complete a therapeutic activity towards the limit of their ability in a very safe environment that's safe for the patient as well as safe for the therapist so we don't have to strain everything we have to hang onto them." Said Bot.
The SoloStep is kind of like a zip line or walking a tight rope where there is a harness in place so patients can work on their balancing without having to worry about falling. The harness, support rope, and 30 feet of track is all the equipment needed to ensure patient safety.
Patients can then push themselves to the limit instead of relying on a therapy device that may change their movement patterns or balance reactions. It's simply a tether that keeps them progressing towards recovery.
"We can also use the harness to actually pick up some of their body weight or "on-weight" them just a little bit so maybe if they have a weakness issue we can protect that joint or that muscle group where they will still be able to do a walking based exercise or a standing based strengthening exercise." Said Bot.
As people age many times balance issues or a surgical procedure can create a fear of falling.
Balancing problems are only compounded when you factor in South Dakota winters.
"It's absolutely essential to everything we do, particularly in South Dakota where we at times can have very challenging outdoor surfaces." Said Bot.
That's where the SoloStep is a great tool for patients looking to strengthen their confidence and muscles. When paired with top notch physical therapists, patients can give their life as well as their feet the balance they need.
SoloStep was installed at Avera St. Luke's last year and therapists are working on other ways to expand their rehab options with the system. For more information about SoloStep or other physical therapy options just call 877-AT-AVERA.