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The Margaret & Mark Stephan Legs + Walking Lab spans two floors in the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (23-24), which are connected by a therapeutic, practical and graceful flight of stairs. In this Lab patients, doctors and researchers focus on body-weight support and large motor and rhythmic limb functions influenced by spinal cord and brain circuits. Therapeutic intervention makes use of anti-gravity support and weight-bearing assistive devices, which are used to support patients as they work on climbing and descending the Lab’s staircase. Treatments focus on trunk and pelvis stability, positioning and control of the hips, knees and ankles, as well as stepping and propulsion.

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The pursuit of new therapies in the Legs + Walking Lab include the application of technology, biological materials and pharmacological and other therapies specific to neural action — which together promise the most exciting and hopeful advances available to enhance locomotion, gait and walking.

Recent Research Projects

Here, you will experience the true essence of our translational care model as the world's leading researchers and clinicians work with patients on gait and walking.

Clothespin Test

Technologies to Evaluate and Advance Manipulation and Mobility

Engineering center focused on enhancing manipulation (holding and grasping objects) and mobility for individuals with disabilities.

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Making tea with wheelchair

Manual Standing Wheelchair

Researchers at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have designed the first-ever manual standing wheelchair that allows users to be mobile in both sitting and standing modes.

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Lightweight Powered Leg Stair Ascent

Evaluation of a Lightweight Powered Leg

The goal of this project is to develop a lightweight motorized leg and to evaluate this device in elderly persons with above-knee amputations.

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By The Numbers

The Legs + Walking Lab is home base for many of our patients recovering from stroke and TBI. Here, you'll find top therapeutic technology, including our zero gravity treadmill — the AlterG — as well as the famed Lokomat.

  • 26K

    The square footage of the Legs + Walking Lab. Located on the 23rd & 24th floors, this space houses some of the best clinical minds, scientists, and technology you'll find in the rehabilitation world.

  • 3

    The number of companies currently partnering with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to test innovative walking devices: ReWalk, Indigo and Honda.

  • 2.6K

    The number of steps you'll walk (on average) in therapy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. That's over a mile, and consists of thousands of more steps than you'd get in treatment programs at skilled nursing facilities.