The WalkAide: A discreet, easy alternative to braces for people with multiple sclerosis, stroke or spinal cord injury
If you or someone you love is living with "foot drop" - neurological damage causing the foot to droop or not lift properly during walking - you recognize that sometimes alternative help is needed other than leg braces or exercises for foot drop.
But fortunately, life with foot drop can be improved - and recently, more than ever!
Traditionally people with this condition were limited to wearing orthoses (braces) to help them walk. Dramatic advances in medical technology, however, have resulted in the small, discreet device known as the WalkAide that uses sensors to alleviate foot drop.
Attached just below the knee, on the outside of the leg, the WalkAide fits beneath most clothing, doesn't require special footwear, and even means you can wear sandals again! And it's designed for one-hand application, so you don't need any help getting WalkAide on.
WalkAide Electrodes are Like "a Brain in a Box"
The WalkAide has been described as "a brain in a box" because it sends messages that would normally come from your brain to your muscles, using sensors that analyze how your foot and leg move. The adaptive technology, known as neuro-prosthetics or myo-orthotics goes beyond the traditional brace; it uses gentle electrical stimulation to restore nerve-to-muscle function.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), built into the WalkAide, is programmed by a Certified Orthotist to create a "foot lift" at the appropriate times during the gait cycle unique to that person.
Exercises for Foot Drop
The WalkAide comes with a pre-programmable exercise mode; you can exercise your leg and foot muscles while resting, for a period of time as set by your physician. Exercise is possible while wearing WalkAide because the device is so small - about the size of a deck of playing cards, on a strap - and simple, consisting of a battery-operated, single-channel electrical stimulator, two electrodes, and electrode leads. And WalkAide won't fall off; it's wrapped in a flexible cuff that goes around your leg.
Foot Drop Examples That Indicate if WalkAide Suits You
If you answer "yes" to any of the following, you may want to consider WalkAide to relieve the discomfort and inconvenience of foot drop:
I've had a stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury.
I'm living with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
I've been diagnosed with foot drop by a doctor.
I currently wear a brace for foot drop.
I don't feel safe or stable enough when I walk.
I miss out on important events because I have a hard time walking.
I have a tight Achilles tendon
I don't wear a pacemaker.
I don't have seizures.
Certified Orthotist Required for Assessment and Programming
In Canada, the WalkAide device is only available by prescription from a medical doctor. Customized fitting, assessment and programming of the device can only be provided by a Certified Orthotist.
The Certified Orthotists at Custom Orthotic Design Group Ltd. have taken the advanced training in the assessment and provision of the WalkAide device, in order to bring this breakthrough technology to their clients.
WalkAide was developed in the '90s by a team of researchers at the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada. Custom Orthotic Design Group Ltd., your trained and accredited providers of WalkAide, is a proudly Canadian-owned and operated company.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-866-829-2969. The Ontario Ministry of Health Assistive Devices Program (ADP) provides funding for the cost of an custom made orthoses in most cases. Please schedule an appointment or call for more information. We have offices in Mississauga, Guelph, and Oshawa. We also have a retail and clinical location at The Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga.