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MyGait Functional Electrical Stimulation Device for Drop Foot

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  • Synopsis: Information regarding MyGait a new external stimulator from Ottobock that compensates for lack of control of the ankle joint caused by drop foot - Published: 2013-08-22. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ottobock at ottobock.co.uk.

Definition: Foot Drop

Foot Drop - Sometimes called "drop foot," is the inability to lift the front part of the foot. This causes the toes to drag along the ground while walking. Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem. Most commonly, foot drop is caused by an injury to the peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that wraps from the back of knee to the front of the shin. Because it sits very close to the surface, it may be easily damaged. Surgery may be recommended to try to repair or decompress a damaged nerve. In cases where foot drop is permanent, surgery to fuse the foot and ankle joint or to transfer tendons from stronger muscles can improve gait and stability.

Gait - How a person walks is called the gait. Many different types of walking problems occur without a person's control. Most, but not all, are due to some physical condition. Some walking abnormalities include: Propulsive gait - a stooped, stiff posture with the head and neck bent forward. Spastic gait - a stiff, foot-dragging walk caused by a long muscle contraction on one side. Scissors gait - legs flexed slightly at the hips and knees like crouching, with the knees and thighs hitting or crossing in a scissors like movement. Waddling gait - a duck-like walk that may appear in childhood or later in life. Steppage gait - foot drop where the foot hangs with the toes pointing down, causing the toes to scrape the ground while walking, requiring someone to lift the leg higher than normal when walking.

Main Document

"Individuals with drop foot often become fatigued easily when walking. They sometimes avoid long distances and can gradually withdraw from social life"

MyGait improves walking pattern, confidence and speed for drop foot.

A new external stimulator that compensates for the lack of control of the ankle joint caused by drop foot has been launched by Ottobock, a world leading supplier of innovative solutions for people with limited mobility. The MyGait system restores a steadier and more natural walking pattern to the wearer, meaning users can focus on their everyday activities and enjoy a more active lifestyle including walking longer distances.

Drop foot is the inability to raise the foot due to a weakness in or paralysis of the dorsiflexor muscles in the leg and the foot. This condition is a frequent result of damage to the central nervous system which could be a result of stroke, multiple sclerosis, incomplete paraplegia or traumatic brain injury. MyGait provides an electrical impulse which is delivered to the nerve, the nerve in turn stimulates the muscle into movement. A unique advantage of MyGait is that in addition to the dorsiflexor muscles, other muscle groups can also be stimulated. This makes it possible to provide additional support when walking.

Man wearing MyGait device holding hands with a woman
Man wearing MyGait device holding hands with a woman
The device is attached with an easy-to-fit cuff, which can be fitted with one hand to the lower leg; this wirelessly connects to a heel switch which is under the foot in a special sock. When the heel switch leaves the ground it sends information to the cuff which then stimulates the nerve to lift the foot at the right time. The whole process happens so fast it is un-noticeable.

MyGait can lead to the follow benefits:

  • More natural walking gait - improving confidence and lifestyle
  • Improved walking speed - making everyday activities easier
  • Ability to walk longer distances - walking becomes less tiring and more enjoyable
  • Ability to walk on uneven surfaces - improving safety and reducing falls
  • Can be fitted without help - increasing independence

Graphic depiction of how the MyGait device works
Graphic depiction of how the MyGait device works
"Individuals with drop foot often become fatigued easily when walking. They sometimes avoid long distances and can gradually withdraw from social life," states Dr. Salim Ghoussayni, Business Development Manager for Neurostimulation at Ottobock. "The MyGait device is the next natural step following the use of orthoses for sufferers of drop foot. Functional electrical stimulation provides users with the ability to walk without aid and improve gait, allowing users to concentrate on other things and enjoy life that little bit more."

MyGait joins Ottobock's range of mobility solutions which includes ActiGait, an implantable drop foot stimulator that can often be the next step following the use of MyGait.

For more information on Ottobock's range of innovative solutions that restore mobility please visit www.ottobock.co.uk or follow @ottobockuk



Related:

  1. Ottobock (Jul 23, 2013). ActiGait Neuroprosthesis Restores Mobility
    https://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/prostheses/actigait.php
  2. Alzheimer's Association (Jul 15, 2012). Gait Changes and Cognitive Disability
    https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/cognitive/gait.php
  3. University of Granada (Apr 27, 2010). Persons Gait Helps Diagnose Fibromyalgia
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/fibromyalgia/diagnose-fibromyalgia.php





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