7 Healthcast: Foot stimulator
There is a huge step forward for people suffering with what's known as "drop foot syndrome." It's often caused by a stroke or other neurological condition. And it can make walking extremely difficult.
The Ness L300 an electrical stimulator is designed to help treat drop foot syndrome.
"It feels like you're being shocked, and you can feel the shocks going down your leg and then you can feel it controlling the muscles in your feet," said drop-foot patient Lisa Ray.
Ray was born with slight cerebral palsy. With the stimulator turned off, Lisa struggles to move her right foot.
All her life, falling has been a constant worry.
"Especially since I've had two falls where I've actually knocked my teeth out and injured myself and required stitches and hospitalization from dragging my toe and tripping," Ray said.
A wireless sensor in the heel of her shoe communicates with a cuff around her shin.
"It is actually stimulating the nerves in the muscles and the shin to be able to raise their foot up," said physical therapist Brad Kruer.
Kruer says patient response is remarkable.
"This allows to get that stimulation of muscles and the nerves, while at the same time walking, doing stairs, exercises," Kruer said.
Patients may never recover using the device but it can be worn long-term in daily life and help.
"I won't have to worry about falling and getting hurt," Ray said. "It will correct my walk. Just make me feel better all over.
It takes about 4-6 weeks for the physical therapist to determine the benefits the patient will get. And by the way, the company, Bioness also makes a stimulator device for the arm and hand.
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