Menu Close

Locomotor Training

Brain 7 A53 Front Harness 2DSC00228Locomotor Training is a rehabilitation strategy that allows individuals with certain kinds of spinal cord injuries to repetitively practice standing and stepping using body weight support and a treadmill with manual facilitation from therapists and technicians. The ultimate goal is to re-train patients with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk again.

In a Locomotor Training session, the individuals body is suspended in a harness over a treadmill while specially trained therapists and technicians move his/her legs to simulate walking.

In addition to improving mobility in certain patients, Locomotor Training has been shown to enhance the overall health of patients. Potential benefits include improving cardiovascular and pulmonary functioning, promoting the strength and healing potential of skin, increasing blood flow to the upper and lower extremities, increasing bone density, and improving bowel and bladder functioning. Improvements in emotional and psychological well-being have also been noted.

Locomotor Training (LT) utilizes a specialized unweighting harness system positioned over an elevated treadmill. Two trainers are positioned in special seating next to each leg and a third stands behind the harnessed person to stabilize the hips. The principle of locomotor training is to assist the stepping process by providing appropriate sensory cues to the flexor and extensor surfaces of the lower leg during locomotion. Partial weight bearing allows for freedom of movement and weight bearing on the legs. Neural retraining occurs as the nervous system re-learns motor patterns associated with walking. Repetitive episodes increase overall fitness.

Locomotor Training Components

  • Step Training utilizes body weight support and the treadmill system in combination with manual assistance provided by specially trained physical therapists to promote walking at a normal walking speed. Training principles are utilized in this component to help the nervous system relearn motor patterns associated with walking.
  • Overground Training takes the nervous system’s new capacity to the overground environment. In this setting, specific limitations to independent walking including gait deviations are addressed.
  • Community Integration implements principles that will help patients meet the overall goal of the program: safe and effective ambulation in the home and community.

NeuroRecovery Network

Activity-based Recovery
Therapy Interventions

Locomotor Training

NeuroMuscular Electrical

Guided Exercise

Basic Gym

Respiratory Training

Community Fitness and
Wellness Center

UofL Health Movement Performance and Locomotor Recovery Clinic

Clinical Centers

NeuroRecovery Network News

NeuroRecovery Network Publications