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What is a LiteGait®?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated May 17, 2024
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LiteGait® combines a freestanding, C-shaped, metal frame with an adjustable harness, which supports persons, with varying degrees of inability to bear weight, in an upright position, encouraging balance and gait training. Physical therapists use this weight bearing therapy equipment for patients of all ages who are unable to stand or walk independently. Using a LiteGait® allows therapists to implement gait training in a variety of settings.

The upper extensions of the C-shaped frame have attachment devices that securely hold the gait harness, while the U-shaped bottom extensions house four wheels for mobility. The mid-frame consists of varying handle bar designs, providing patient stability and allowing a person to stand forward or backward into the LiteGait®. With a patient secured in a harness, the mid-frame also telescopes up and down providing automatic lifting of patients from a lying or sitting to a standing position. Harnesses come in various sizes to accommodate patients ranging from pediatric to adult populations.

Harnesses used for a particular age range adjust for individual girth using adjustable straps, so that the LiteGait® harness snugly supports the mid to lower spine. Straps buckled from the bottom-back of the harness pass through the legs and attach to the bottom-front of the harness, providing pelvic girdle support. Therapists typically attach the gait harness while the patient is in a lying or standing position. Straps on the top-front of the harness then attach to the LiteGait® frame.

Patients achieve correct balance and standing posture as the spine, firmly supported by the harness, remains erect while the handlebars provide stability. Once the patient is secured into the device, therapists use it to initiate, analyze and correct gait. When locked in place over a specially designed treadmill, LiteGait® supports patient body weight while the treadmill encourages forward leg extension. As the treadmill encourages leg movement, the therapist’s hands are free to correct foot placement or leg extension along with the timing of each step.

With the guidance and supervision of a therapist, patients exhibiting adequate weight bearing and stepping ability may use LiteGait® as an assistive device to walk across the floor. As balance, posture, and weight bearing ability improve, patients may use of modified devices. Various frame designs incorporate the safety and support mechanisms of the basic model with the independence and mobility of a conventional walker.

Mobility researchers designed and manufactured this device in hopes of improving the quality of life for many patients. Therapists use LiteGait® in hospitals, nursing homes and treatment centers, in an attempt to improve mobility in patients who have brain or spinal injuries, including stroke victims. The device reportedly enhances the ability of patients suffering from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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