Home-Based Versus Laboratory-Based Robotic Ankle Training for Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Randomized Comparative Trial

Kai Chen, Yi Ning Wu, Yupeng Ren, Lin Liu, Deborah Gaebler-Spira, Kelly Tankard, Julia Lee, Weiqun Song, Maobin Wang, Li Qun Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the outcomes of home-based robot-guided therapy and compare it to laboratory-based robot-guided therapy for the treatment of impaired ankles in children with cerebral palsy. Design A randomized comparative trial design comparing a home-based training group and a laboratory-based training group. Setting Home versus laboratory within a research hospital. Participants Children (N=41) with cerebral palsy who were at Gross Motor Function Classification System level I, II, or III were randomly assigned to 2 groups. Children in home-based and laboratory-based groups were 8.7±2.8 (n=23) and 10.7±6.0 (n=18) years old, respectively. Interventions Six-week combined passive stretching and active movement intervention of impaired ankle in a laboratory or home environment using a portable rehabilitation robot. Main Outcome Measures Active dorsiflexion range of motion (as the primary outcome), mobility (6-minute walk test and timed Up and Go test), balance (Pediatric Balance Scale), Selective Motor Control Assessment of the Lower Extremity, Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) for spasticity, passive range of motion (PROM), strength, and joint stiffness. Results Significant improvements were found for the home-based group in all biomechanical outcome measures except for PROM and all clinical outcome measures except the MAS. The laboratory-based group also showed significant improvements in all the biomechanical outcome measures and all clinical outcome measures except the MAS. There were no significant differences in the outcome measures between the 2 groups. Conclusions These findings suggest that the translation of repetitive, goal-directed, biofeedback training through motivating games from the laboratory to the home environment is feasible. The benefits of home-based robot-guided therapy were similar to those of laboratory-based robot-guided therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1243
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016


  • Ankle
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Movement
  • Muscle hypertonia
  • Rehabilitation
  • Robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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