Innovative Neurotronics Inc, Austin, Tex, the development and commercialization subsidiary of Hanger Orthopedic Group, reports that its WalkAide technology has earned the product endorsement of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). A functional electrical stimulation technology, the WalkAide combats a form of paralysis known as foot drop caused by multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, and incomplete spinal cord injury.

Applied by physical therapists at hundreds of rehabilitation centers nationwide, the WalkAide has proven a useful therapy in clinical treatment protocols, as well as a consistent mechanism to promote multidirectional mobility and restore a natural gait pattern to patients at home in their everyday environment, according to the company.

With the recent launch of its new Bi-Flex Cuff, the device provides patients with increased comfort, ease of use, and consistent, reproducible outcomes, the company says. Designed to maximize the functionality and precision of the patented WalkAide tilt accelerometer (the same motion-tracking technology used in the Wii video gaming system), the cuff includes improved aesthetics, a new latch attachment system, a  dual durometer construction (rigid side to ease one-handed donning/doffing, soft side to conform to the leg for total electrode contact), and a vented design that allows for increased air circulation and better breathability. The new electrode locator feature helps patients achieve the same optimal results at home as when their therapists position the WalkAide in a clinical setting.

About the size of an iPod and worn around the calf just below the knee, the WalkAide applies low level electrical currents directly to the peroneal nerve and instruct the muscles to flex the foot at the appropriate time in the gait cycle. It uses Bluetooth technology to communicate during programming and a patented tilt accelerometer.

[Source: Innovative Neutotronics]