An excerpt from The Daily Chronicle, by Caitlin Mullen:
Sycamore, IL - For Joanne Schutt of Sycamore, walking has
been a struggle for more than 20 years.
After a car accident left her with severe injuries to her legs, she's used
orthotics and foot braces to remedy her dragging foot and off-balance walk.
Recently, she found something that's taken away her wobble: the WalkAide, a
device designed by Innovative Neurotronics, to help remedy foot drop, which
Schutt, 55, experiences when her toes drag. The WalkAide makes the foot lift by
pulsing her leg muscle.
To read more of this story,
Featured nationally on Good Morning America in January, the WalkAide
is about the size of an iPod and is worn around the calf. Using a patented
sensor technology called an accelerometer and transmitting data through a
Bluetooth connection, the WalkAide sends low level electrical signals directly
to a motor nerve in the leg, stimulating the muscles to raise the patient's foot
at the appropriate time in the gait cycle.
A study published in the September 2006 edition of the peer-reviewed journal
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair reports the walking speed of
patients wearing the WalkAide increased 15% after three months of use, 32% after
six months, and nearly 50% after 12 months. The study also showed the number of
steps taken per day by WalkAide users increased significantly over the year.