It has been a year since I start using the WalkAide. I wear it most of the day with the exception of exercising. I did (and still do) notice an increase in my energy level. With the increase in energy, I am able to exercise longer hence building more strength and just do more in general. The pain in my knees and hips are long gone. I can sit with legs crossed and sleep in a fetal position. My back rarely hurts anymore. Unfortunately, I would still consider myself “housebound” but not as much as before the WalkAide. I manage much better around the house. I don’t sit in the car all the time when my spouse goes into a store. When I do go into a store though, it is for a short time. My gait is slow but I have more control. I can walk longer distances but not long enough to accomplish any meaningful tasks. For example, I am not able to walk to the grocery store three blocks away. I have poor balance so I use a cane so as not to exhaust myself trying to steady myself. Heat, humidity, stability and stiffness continue to be problems. I stretch often and don’t like sitting for long periods of time (especially in a car). I still have found walking barefoot wearing the WalkAide is very uncomfortable. I need to wear good shoes but can get away with a pair of Keds now when my feet get warm. Since I began wearing the WalkAide, I have had to raise the stimulation to about 1 ½ (up from 1). What has changed is that I am taking Ampyra (a recently approved drug to improve walking in MS patients). I’ve only been taking Ampyra for about a month. It has helped to improve my energy level a bit morel. I don’t know if over time the drug will do even more for me. I tend not to want to know too much so as not to have unrealistic expectations. I follow up with my neurologist in a few weeks.
To sum up, the WalkAide has improved my quality of life from where it was (though far from pre-diagnosed). I have more energy. I still have to learn how to trust the WalkAide more. I try not to thrust my good leg forward but rather propel both legs with equal speed and stride. It is difficult (but better) trying to control the eversion. I still have to think about every step. It is sooo difficult breaking bad habits.