"ActiGait has been amazing; I am able to walk on the treadmill at the gym now, and feel more confident when walking unaided."
Pioneering neuroprosthesis restores mobility for Paralympic torch bearer - Young British woman regains confidence and independence thanks to ground-breaking neuroprosthetic implant from Ottobock to combat debilitating condition of drop foot.
Zara Roberts, a 27 year old from Wales and Paralympic torchbearer, has regained her mobility and confidence following surgery to implant an electrical neuro-prosthesis device in her leg. Developed by mobility experts Ottobock, ActiGait® stimulates a patient's nervous system and is implanted surgically to combat the debilitating condition of drop foot. Following her procedure, Zara has been enjoying more independence and improved mobility and is now a keen athlete.
What is drop foot
Drop foot sufferers are unable to activate the muscles in the front of their leg or raise their foot to clear the floor when walking. The condition can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Drop foot can leave sufferers with complex mobility challenges, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
Zara sustained a number of severe injuries during a serious car accident in 2004. Following the accident, Zara was left with mobility issues including drop foot, which made it hard for her to walk unaided. She initially used external electrical stimulators to assist her walking, but she was unable to fit the electrodes herself and found them inconvenient and uncomfortable. ActiGait has allowed Zara to walk more naturally without pain, and she was chosen as a Paralympic torch bearer during the London 2012 Games, a testament to her success at regaining her mobility.ActiGait from Ottobock, the world's leading supplier of innovative solutions for people with limited mobility, restores the natural walking gait of patients with drop foot. It substitutes missing central nervous system signals and provides the required nerve trigger to allow dorsiflexion of the foot. It consists of four separate components which are the implant itself, the control unit, the antenna and heel switch. The heel switch detects when the foot leaves the ground and triggers the control unit to stimulate. This stimulus is transmitted by the antenna to the implanted electrode which activates the muscles of the lower leg and allows the foot and toes to lift properly during walking, improving walking speed, endurance and stability.
"Before ActiGait I kept tripping over, and my lack of mobility made me upset and angry," said Zara Roberts. "ActiGait has been amazing; I am able to walk on the treadmill at the gym now, and feel more confident when walking unaided. Being asked to carry the Paralympic torch in the run up to the 2012 Games was a huge honor, and I am so proud I was able to do it."
"Zara has made excellent progress, and is able to live a more active and independent life following her ActiGait surgery," stated Dr. Salim Ghoussayni, Neurostimulation Specialist, Ottobock. "ActiGait allows the user to take back control and stop being reliant on others for assistance. Zara's mobility has improved considerably since her procedure and we look forward to following her progress."ActiGait from Ottobock now includes a number of recent design enhancements to make it more discreet and comfortable for the user. These include a smaller control unit that can be worn under a shirt or dress thanks to a new magnet fixing rather than on a belt or waistband. In addition, the heel switch is lighter and more flexible making it easier to put on and wear, while also enabling the user to walk barefoot.
Ottobock is a world leading supplier of high quality, innovative and practical solutions that restore human mobility and help people to rediscover personal independence. Ottobock is part of the Ottobock global group of companies established in the UK in 1976. Its wide product range includes high quality prosthetic and orthotic components, wheelchairs, rehabilitation and mobility products available through the country's leading clinics and dealers. With a highly motivated and skilled team of professionals offering expert advice, product sales, service and support, Ottobock solutions enhance the physical comfort, confidence and mobility of the individual. Ottobock aims to achieve the best possible outcome for its customers, combining the latest technology with cutting-edge products and services.
For more information on ActiGait and Ottobock's range of innovative solutions that restore mobility please visit www.ottobock.co.uk or follow @ottobockuk