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Physios use bionic leg to help paralysed jockey walk again

2 July 2015 - 11:22am

Physiotherapists have used rehab and bionic technology to help an injured jockey walk again.

Physios use bionic leg to help paralysed jockey walk again

Daily physiotherapy and a motor-assisted bionic leg helped Katie Watson return to horse riding

Katie Watson, a professional jockey from Gloucestershire, was paralysed from the neck down after a car crash in February 2014.

Following the accident she spent five months in hospital and was told by doctors that she would not be able to walk again.

But after daily physiotherapy sessions and the use of a motor-assisted bionic leg she is now walking again and has even returned to horse riding.

Ms Watson lives at Oaksey House in Lambourn, Berkshire, a rehab centre for injured jockeys, where she received physiotherapy from Hobbs Rehabilitation, the neuro-rehab providers for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

File 158592Hobbs Rehabilitation physio Catherine Hanson with Katie Watson wearing the bionic leg

Helen Hobbs, specialist neurological physio and co-founder of the company, said: ‘Our team treated Katie over a period of several weeks and the bionic leg certainly did help her gain confidence and get back on her feet.

‘It’s very much a strengthening tool for the muscles around the knee. It facilitates knee stability and frees up the therapist to focus on the proximal hamstrings.’

The battery-powered bionic leg can be worn over a patient’s leg during physiotherapy sessions. Sensors in the device allow it to detect weight transfer and the wearer’s intent to move, which enables it to respond accordingly and provide assistance.

Ms Hobbs adds that the bionic leg is a useful adjunct to treatment, but that it requires the supervision of a therapist who has clinically reasoned why and what they are using it.

‘Katie rehabbed brilliantly, but of course it wasn’t just down to the leg – there was also a lot of hands on work as well,’ she said.

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