WalkAide

By jefff Added at September 23, 2015 Views 2,578 Reviews 2

An FES (functional electrical stimulation) device has electrodes that directly stimulate the leg in order to correct foot drop. It’s strapped around the leg just below the knee and sends low levels of electrical stimulation to the peroneal nerve, telling it to lift the foot as you walk. The WalkAide is not alone in the field of "drop foot" stimulators as there are a few others (eg; Bioness L300 and Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator Pace), but it's important to note that the WalkAide is and has been approved by the National MS Society.

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Reviews (2 reviews)

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jefff
jefff September 23, 2015 at 2:59 am   

I've tried the device and it actually worked for me, but because Medicare already bought me a PowerChair, they won't be able to assist with the WalkAide expense and my secondary insurance won't even touch it, so I'm stuck!

I have NOT looked into financial assistance programs, so that's still an option for me or you if you're thinking about this?

My Neurologist is nervous about me even thinking about this because of my seizure history, so we'll have to dive into that further before I make any commitments!

Enjoy…jefff

jefff
jefff September 23, 2015 at 2:53 am   
Pros

WalkAide has had very good success in patients using the device, with much improvement in their walking pattern. It greatly improves the speed at which a person walks, and imagine how that helps with situations like crossing the street.
Using the WalkAide also makes walking less taxing and improves safety by lowering the risk for falling, and that alone gives people more confidence when walking that could lead them to participate more within their community.

Cons

The WalkAide shouldn’t be used if you have a pacemaker or epilepsy, nor is it safe to use for people who have a fracture in their leg. The device can cause a "pins-and-needles" feeling, which may be uncomfortable, but medication can help reduce that discomfort. There also may be some skin irritation where the electrodes are placed, but hypoallergenic electrodes can be used. The National MS Society notes, however, that the WalkAide or other FES devices don't always work for all people. The peroneal nerve needs to be able to pick up the signal from the device, and the muscles need to respond to the signal. Due to nerve conductivity being critical for this device to work effectively, there can be and has been some complications that have interfered with that process.

***One of the biggest challenges is cost*** A device can run $5,000 to $6,000. Insurance sometimes covers the cost, but not often enough according to the National MS Society. There are some nonprofit organizations that have financial assistance programs to help offset the cost(s), so look into those as well.