Computerized technology restoring balance for the unsteady

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- There's a new tool in Kentuckiana helping people with balance issues, get back on steady ground.

At 74 years old, Vonda Norris is taking steps to keep balance in check. After a knee surgery, she feels like her balance isn't what it used to be. So while getting therapy on an injured neck at KORT's Springhurst location, therapist Sarah Murray recommended some testing on a new balance machine called Biodex.

"What it does" says Sarah, "it assesses people's balance, it gives us an indication whether someone is at risk for falling." The computerized technology is programmed to give therapists exact measurements of a patient's balance abilities.

Using a specialized platform "it measures how the weight shifts in their feet, how much correcting they're doing," Sarah says.

It can even simulate real world conditions to help measure deficiencies. Patients are asked to stand on a foam platform for the test. "If they have trouble on foam, they probably have trouble walking outside on the grass or walking down a gravel driveway, sometimes stairs."

Biodex is also a treatment tool, with games that target specific impairments. When patients 'play' the games, they're actually undergoing balance therapy. "Our brain adapts really quickly to balance training. The muscles have to react so we put them in conditions where their muscles are constantly reaching and training to help them whenever they get out into real life situations" Sarah says.

The scores from the therapy games, provide valuable feedback to patients and therapists regarding abilities and progression.

"It kind of gives you peace of mind" Vonda says. The testing showed her, her balance isn't as shaky as she thought. "Most women as they get older, balance is one of the big things you hear about" Vonda says, "I want to make sure that I tackle it before it becomes an issue."

Balance treatment plans through KORT also includes exercises that can be performed at home.