It has been about two years that I have been using the WalkAide. Overall, I am satisfied but it is no magic bullet. When I’m not tired, the WalkAide has alleviated my foot drop and the hyperextension of my knee. My gait is good enough to have eliminated knee and hip pain (that was bringing tears to my eyes). I can tell I have increased strength in my calves. I no longer feel like there is an invisible person pulling my muscles apart in my legs most of the time. The WalkAide only lifts my toes up (and to the side). I must still do much of the work of “walking” (propelling your foot forward at the correct time, for example). It is very hard to do. I have improved stability but have to use a cane outside my house. I still use every sturdy object in my house to get from here to there. I usually feel like I’m a slightly moving ship. I won’t be the person volunteering to pick up the “to go” pizza.
Though my energy level has increased overall, I find it difficult to increase my stamina even more. I do exercise regularly and have spent a small fortune on every type of exercise implement (exercise ball, elastic bands, dumbbells, etc.). Increasing strength and stamina as mentioned is very hard. Doing one more rep, increasing the treadmill one more minute seems impossible.
When I’m too tired and I try to walk anyway, I can break my pinky toe (black toe is what I call it). This would happen pre-WalkAide too. I usually have my pinky toe taped to the toe next to it to keep it from moving.
Spasticity has been reduced. However, standing up after sitting for any length of time, I feel like I need to stretch (like when you wake in the morning). So, I still feel uncomfortable in social situations. I walk slowly (so many things to do – balance, propel foot forward but at least I don’t have to lift my toes up).
I also have been taking Ampyra (for over a year). I can’t say I notice a difference but my spouse says that it helps keep me more on an even keel.
For those of you using a WalkAide, my stimulator button is just over 2. I need to increase it because I do feel my foot dropping a bit (I started out on stimulator one and had to increase it to 2 after a year). I also dab a bit of KY jelly on my leg (where the electrodes will go). I use the exercise mode for about four minutes before walking. I have had to adjust my wardrobe a bit so the WalkAide is not visible. I prefer the WalkAide not be a conversation piece.
I feel bad that I can’t write a more glowing report but I do recommend the WalkAide. I am certainly better off than I was.