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AFO - WalkAide®

The WalkAide® is the newest member of a family of orthotic devices called “Myo-orthotics”. Myo-orthotics are electronic devices that provide FES (functional Electrical Stimulation) to nerves that target specific muscle groups. Specifically, the WalkAide® targets the peroneal nerve to elicit dorsiflexion and eversion in the affected foot.

The WalkAide® has been available in the US since spring of 06. Currently we are the only clinic in Idaho that is certified to provide the WalkAide®. It is an alternative to bracing for patients with drop foot caused by an upper motor neuron lesion. The device consists of two electrodes placed on the skin just below the knee. The electrodes connect to a small electrical stim unit approximately the size of a pager that is attached to a plastic cuff that wraps around the leg just above the calf muscles. It can be worn under most pants or skirts without problems.

Benefits Over Contemporary AFO

  1. No restrictions on shoe wear. The patient can even be barefoot and still use the device.
  2. The device can be applied with one hand.
  3. Low maintenance—one battery that lasts several weeks, and two electrodes that last 2-3 weeks.
  4. The battery can be changed with one hand.
  5. Exercise. The WalkAide® allows the patient to use the muscles in the leg, instead of just bracing them.

Drawbacks Over Contemporary AFO

  1. Only for patients with dropfoot caused by an upper motor neuron lesion. Consult your physician if unsure.
  2. Insurance coverage. No insurance coverage yet. We hope to have insurance coverage by late 08 or mid 09.
  3. Can’t be worn for water sports or exercise.

Resources

Check www.walkaide.com for more information.

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