Connor Chaney, 8, is on a mission – to take his new “magic foot,” a neurological rehabilitation device which uses sensor technology similar to the Wii video gaming system, to school with him. For Connor, the device would replace what he feels is an uncomfortable and restrictive plastic ankle brace.
“It’s a beautiful thing for a physical therapist to see,” said Lindsay Luker, physical therapist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Texas, according to a WFAA Channel 8 ABC news report. “You’re helping his body move the way it’s designed to move.”
The “magic foot” is the name Laker uses to describe Connor’s new WalkAide® System. The WalkAide® device uses a patented tilt sensor technology combined with a single-channel electrical stimulator that is about the size of an iPod. It is worn around the calf (as opposed to being implanted under the skin), and below the knee to help individuals walk naturally and with an efficient walking pattern. To do so, it stimulates nerves that control the ankle and the foot, which then prompt muscles to contract to raise the foot while the person is in the step cycle.
The device was made to assist individuals who have foot drop caused by conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, incomplete spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. Individuals that have a history of seizures or have an implanted pacemaker should not use the device. And, the device cannot be used in water.
For those that qualify, the WalkAide is an alternative to ankle foot orthosis, or AFOs. Unlike AFOs, WalkAide® promotes the use of the neuromuscular system by re-engaging the person’s existing nerve pathways and muscles while promoting – not restricting – ankle range of motion, according to Innovative Neurotronics, Inc., who manufactures the device. Another benefit, they say, is a reduction in muscle atrophy and walking fatigue since the person is able to freely walk with or without footwear, walk up and down stairs, and sidestep with the device.
A physician prescription is necessary to acquire the device. The device is fitted by a trained clinician and programmed uniquely to the user’s gait, activity level and foot drop severity.
For more information on WalkAide®:
To learn how WalkAide® works, visit WalkAide®.
To order the Patient Information Pack, visit Patient Information Pack.
To inquire at a clinic location near you, visit Clinic Locator.
The WalkAide®: Cerebral Palsy Technology – #CPTechnology, #CPResearch, #CerebralPalsy
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Douglas, Jim (2014, August 12). “Gadget makes walking without support possible for young palsy patient,” CBS Interactive Inc., June 24, 2014. Channel 8, WFAA. Retrieved from ABC/WFAA.
The WalkAide® System, Innovative Neurotronics, 3600 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Suite B150, Austin, Texas.