Patients are able to practice using their prosthetic limbs with the help of Wii Fit and the balance board.
Seacroft Hospital in Leeds England recently garnered attention for utilizing the Wii in conjunction with Wii Fit as a means of rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Physiotherapists at the hospital are among the first in the country to incorporate sessions of Wii Fit into the schedule of patients learning to use a lower prosthetic limb. Senior physiotherapist Lynn Hirst states that many times patients have trouble "getting their weight through the prosthetic limb." However, with the aid of the balance board, Wii Fit allows patients to see "where they are taking their weight."
Many of the Wii Fit games are similar to actual physical therapy exercises, and Hirst adds that there are many "lively games" that help "[improve] their core stability and their balance." For example, Wii Fit's skiing helps patients learn balance, control, and cooperation between a real and prosthetic limb.
For many patients, coping with an amputation can be difficult and frustrating. Prior to having tools such as Wii Fit, patients would only have the word of the trainer to depict their progress. Now, using the Balance Board, patients are able to visually see their center of gravity and rehabilitate themselves with games rather than tedious and strenuous physical therapy. Regardless of age, patients seeking rehabilitation have connected with the colorful game and are inspired to push their hardest in order to return to their normal lives.
Sixty year old David Crossland, a patient at Seacroft Hospitalm serves as a prime example. As a result of complications relating to an old accident Crossland's leg recently needed to be amputated. He describes the therapy with Wii Fit and the Balance Board as "marvelous" and adds that "it makes sure you have got your balance," which is important when "learning to walk again." Furthermore, it has allowed him to do things like "ski down a mountain or head a football during sessions using the machine – even though he has a prosthetic leg."
Hirst, Crossland's physiotherapist, states that the Wii Fit therapy has been "absolutely fantastic" for Crossland and all of her other patients. Being the first institute in the country to adopt the system, Hirst hopes that others will follow suit with similar programs.