Effective lower extremity function influences the patient's ability to be actively mobile and independent throughout his or her life, and this function largely depends on regular exercise or active use. Animal studies have indicated that exposure to an enriched rehabilitation or conditioning environment has a beneficial effect on compensational central nervous system plasticity following peripheral nerve injury.19 An enriched environment seems to stimulate activity and enhances learning processes and compensational processes.20 Neuroanatomic changes following exposure to an enriched environment persist the longer the exposure to the enriched environment lasts, but it is unknown whether a ceiling for this effect exists.20
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