Mobility Technology is being developed and improved all the time. First an article on the novel Dashaway Walker and and then a look at electrically activated Ankle-Foot Orthoses (Functional Electrical Stimulation [FES]) systems that help lift the toes and prevent foot drop while walking.
The Dashaway Walker
The Dashaway http://www.dashaway.net/ is a forearm walker that helps you walk totally upright. No weight on your wrists and arms like a regular walker. It is easier on the back because you are not bent over.
There has been enthusiasm by some HSPers for the Dashaway walker. Kathi says “It’s the only device that allows you to stand tall, prevents falls and improves functionality”.
Another HSPer described it this way “With the Dashaway I feel more stable with walking and don’t feel like I am going to fall and stand taller using the elbow rests which make my legs and knees feel better. I have a very bad arthritic right knee that gets lots of relief from pain when using the Dashway. I like being surrounded on three sides by the Dashway, a solid structure. The best part is that the Dashaway will not move unless I release the brakes with my hands to walk around”.
On the website they call it “an upright support device for mobility and also a clinical tool for rehab”. You can see the Dashaway, including videos here: http://www.dashaway.net/. They are on Facebook at:
The Dashaway costs $1,495USD. Shipping to Australia is possible for an additional charge of about $200USD. Call to order as they like to talk to people to help assure this is the right device for you. Their US number is +1 866 968 3274.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems help get the toes up when walking.
From this year’s Community Contact Initiative we’ve learned that at least one of our HSP community members finds the NESS L300 http://www.bioness.com a functional electrical stimulation system (FES) helpful. He said it made a difference to his walking and helped to lift the foot. Unfortunately they are expensive – $9,000 for each leg – and so the cost will be prohibitive for many.
The NESS L300 Foot Drop System from Bioness is a medical device that helps certain individuals walk with increased speed and improved balance – allowing you to regain your freedom and independence. The NESS L300 uses low-level electrical stimulation to activate the nerves that control the muscles to lift the foot. The system has three wireless components that adapt to changes in walking speed and terrain, allowing you to walk easily over stairs, grass and carpet.
You can learn more and see videos at their website: http://www.bioness.com
There are at least two other brands of FES available. The Walkaide is available in Australia and can be see here:
There is also a model called Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS) developed at Salisbury District Hospital in the UK. This device is currently hard to find in Australia. Hopefully with time, availability of these types of products will increase as the price decreases.