Foot drop is a condition that limits an individuals ability to properly walk because they are unable to properly lift the front of their foot for a natural walking gait. There are many things that can cause foot drop to occur, but these causes are broken into three main categories – injury or trauma to nerves, brain or spinal disorders, and muscle or nerve disorders. In certain cases, the use of the WalkAide® system can give individuals suffering from foot drop their independence back by restoring their ability to walk properly. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the WalkAide® system and how you can determine if it is right for you.
What is the WalkAide® system?
The WalkAide® system is a revolutionary, electronic device that uses functional electrical stimulation (FES) and patented tilt sensor technology to reduce the complications and symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from foot drop. The WalkAide® system was designed specifically for individuals seeking to regain their freedom and independence with the ability to walk properly. The WalkAide® system is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
How does the WalkAide® system work?
The WalkAide® system is a lightweight device that is worn beneath the knee and can be completely operated with just one hand. The device uses our patented tilt sensor technology and functional electrical stimulation (FES) to send signals to the nerves in the leg and foot instructing the foot to lift when needed. This creates a walking gait that is more natural and less restrictive than other foot drop treatment options like ankle foot ortosis (AFO) braces. While the technology in the WalkAide® system may be revolutionary, the device itself is small and easy to use. The device is battery-operated and applied directly to the leg like a cuff, not as an implant beneath the skin, and can even fit under most clothing.
How do I know if the WalkAide® system is right for me?
While the WalkAide® system is very effective in providing relief of symptoms and complications caused by foot drop, it is not right for everyone suffering from this condition. The WalkAide® system may be right for you if have a foot drop condition caused by either upper motor neuron injuries or central nervous system (CNS) disorders. This device may be right for you if the underlying cause of your foot drop condition is:
- Stroke (CVA)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Cerebral Palsy (CP)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
The WalkAide® system should not be used by individuals with a history of seizures or who have an implantable pacemaker, unless specifically directed otherwise by your physician. The WalkAide® system is a revolutionary medical device that requires the prescription of a licensed physician. If you believe you may be a candidate for the WalkAide® device, you should have an evaluation and analysis done by a trained medical professional.
The WalkAide® system and children
The WalkAide® system is not just for adults. This system encourages kids to be kids and comes in a smaller device designed specifically for pediatric treatment. It has become the preferred method of treatment for children suffering from foot drop caused by upper motor neuron injuries. The device is programmed specifically for each child and has the ability to adapt with the child as they grow and their rehabilitative needs change. In fact, a clinical study conducted by the National Institute of Health found the use of the WalkAide® device by children whose foot drop condition was caused by cerebral palsy offered significant benefits such as an improved response to FES that cannot be accomplished with traditional bracing, improved kinematics and range of motion, and improved fatigue resistance. The same study also found that when children had the option to choose, 90% of the children studied would choose to use the WalkAide® device instead of following their current treatment plan.
Cost of the WalkAide® system
While the WalkAide® system is approved by the FDA, most insurance companies are currently denying coverage for this incredible device. The device has an out of pocket cost of $5,000 per unit, making it nearly impossible for many people who see the WalkAide® as an invaluable opportunity to improve their quality of life to be able to obtain it.