WalkAide

Discuss physical medical devices that can be used to treat or improve MS symptoms

WalkAide

Postby cas » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:52 pm

I didn't know which thread to continue so I just started a new one. What has the WalkAide enabled you to do that you weren't able to do before?

For example, I could go in to the supermarket (and shop) instead of waiting in the car. I am able to walk from the parking lot to the restaurant intead of being dropped off while my husband parks the car. I am able to walk through an airport instead of asking upon arrival for a wheel chair.

I am looking for specific, detailed tasks one is able to do that they couldn't before the WalkAide.

Thanks for any answers.
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Postby Sharon » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:19 pm

Gee, where do I begin!

I was able to walk on the cobblestone paths while vacationing in Belgium; I am able to play 18 holes of golf ( I do ride in a cart, but I still walk quite a bit); I walked 1.5 miles to the top of a waterfall in Southwestern Colorado (Lars knows the area); on some days I am now able to walk around my home without the WalkAide; I am planning a trip to China (I would have never considered this two years ago); I spent the enitre day yesterday on my feet going from shopping to exercising to the doctors all with the aide of the WalkAide. And, I did not come home and crash!!

Need I say more?

Sharon
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WalkAide

Postby cas » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:19 pm

Sharon, I do thank you for your response. And if you ever feel like writing any more examples, I'd be happy to read about them. I'm so glad the WalkAide is allowing you to do things that were difficult, if not impossible before.

Funny, you should mention a trip to China. I went several years ago and was unable to see much of the Forbidden City or anything for that matter. My husband went ahead and took pictures. Yesterday, my husband and I met a friend for dinner. It was early and the restaurant was pretty empty but the host decided to seat us in the further most corner of the the place. That trek was fatiguing let alone the Forbidden City.


I have an appointment next week to discus the WalkAide.
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Postby Sharon » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:17 pm

cas

I hope the WalkAide works for you - just remember to be proactive with the technician who will fit you. If you have to go back a couple of times to get it calibrated correctly - so be it. I recently had mine recalibrated after using it for a year - I am still trying to get use to the new settings. It was reset to account for a slight increase in my walking speed.

Good luck - let me know if I can be of further help

Sharon
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Bioness versus walkaide?

Postby Dianemcc » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:10 pm

Has anyone tried both devices and if so what was your opinion of them and which one did you prefer? I would like to purchase one of them but after researching both of them I'm not sure which one would be better. I would love some input.
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WalkAide

Postby cas » Wed May 06, 2009 2:38 pm

Sharon wrote:cas

I hope the WalkAide works for you - just remember to be proactive with the technician who will fit you. If you have to go back a couple of times to get it calibrated correctly - so be it. I recently had mine recalibrated after using it for a year - I am still trying to get use to the new settings. It was reset to account for a slight increase in my walking speed.

Good luck - let me know if I can be of further help

Sharon


I have met with a Physical Therapist and Orthotist several times. I am cautiously optomistic but it is difficult to get a "real" feel for the WalkAide only using it at best for 45 minutes once a week. What kind of practice/time did you get with the WalkAide before purchasing it (insurance denied my claim)? Where you able to take it home for a trial run?

Also, when did you feel that you had regained some/all of your independence (your 2-26-09 post)? 1 month, 6 months?

Thanks again.
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Postby Sharon » Wed May 06, 2009 4:35 pm

cas -

I bought my WalkAide in November of 2007 - at that time the Hangar folks were not allowing you to take it home and try it. I thought that policy had changed; maybe it is you can rent it for a month and apply the rent to the purchase price - I am not sure. Anyway, I practiced at the Hangar facility and decided to buy it immediately.

you wrote:
Also, when did you feel that you had regained some/all of your independence (your 2-26-09 post)? 1 month, 6 months?


I really had not given up on anything but I was afraid the time was coming. Prior to the WalkAide, I was getting tired from the stress of trying to keep myself upright. Within a week I was confident enough to go to the mall and start my Christmas shopping - using the WalkAide only. The only time I have used a walking stick was in Holland on the cobblestones, when hiking, or if I am going to be walking in a crowd in unfamiliar territory. Some of that is because of balance issues, not because of my foot drop.

Again, be very proactive with your technician - it is important you are comfortable with it. Also, remember that there will be a difference in your setting between morning and evening. Your leg naturally swells during the day - you may have to adjust the tightness. I also notice that sometimes you may have to stop and adjust the device up or down. I have a terrible habit of crossing my legs which adjusts the fit. In the morning I usually have it at about 1.5 - most evenings it is at .5. Another thing - when you are tired an MSer is just like anyone else - you slow down. Well, remember the WalkAide is calibrated for speed, step length, and tilt. When you are tired, your leg changes all those things. Then it may be frustrating because no matter how hard you try, it just will not work the way you want. Sit down and rest or go to bed - your body is sending you a message!!

Sharon
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Postby chrishasms » Wed May 06, 2009 6:52 pm

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Last edited by chrishasms on Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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WalkAide

Postby cas » Thu May 07, 2009 11:59 am

Sharon,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative response. I really appreciate it. To clarify, when you said you "practiced at the Hangar facility and decided to purchase it immediately" does that mean you practiced for 5 hours a day for one week or 2 hours a day for one week? I am sorry to be so overly interested in the details. It just that now that I am going to be responsible for payment, I am wanting to know when you felt it was worth it to buy the WalkAide. I would be so dissappointed to purchase it and realize weeks later that I still can't leave my condo and go to the common area and get my mail (about 200 feet). For the brief times that I have had with the WalkAide, my gait is better but I don't get enough time to rest and then practice within the 45 minutes. I don't know if I am being too cautious.

I tell my doctor that I am house bound. When you wrote "I really had not given up on anything but I was afraid the time was coming.", I sadly have reached that point. I am just mentally and physically exhausted trying to do the mundane necessities of life.

Your advice of being proactive with your technician, is duly noted. I have been paying close attention to what she does and says. Each time I have an appointment and go home and read your posts, it becomes clearer and clearer. I will reread your posts when I purchase the WalkAide too.

cas
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Postby Sharon » Thu May 07, 2009 1:07 pm

Cas -

At my first appointment, I used the WalkAide for about an hour. I rescheduled for another appointment - had my daughter go with me to get her opinion. I walked on tile, on carpet, went outside and walked over curbs. I probably spent two hours in total before I decided to buy.

you wrote:
I am just mentally and physically exhausted trying to do the mundane necessities of life.


I think that even if you are house bound, you would find the WalkAide useful at home. When I first got mine I wore it all day - inside and outside. You will not be "fighting" for every step so, even though you are house bound, it surely would help you around the house.

I just got back from playing 9 holes of golf - we are having a nice warm Spring day - it is close to 80 degrees. My leg was getting tired by the ninth hole and I was getting a little warm (should have worn lighter clothes). I was starting to get more feeling from the shock impulse of the WalkAide - I admit this is frustrating. But, I went inside to a restaurant, had a cold drink and something to eat for lunch, and an hour later I walked to my car with no problem. It is hard to explain what happens when you and your leg gets tired. The impulse seems to jerk my foot up. As I mentioned before, the WalkAide is not going to help you with other physical issues of MS - if you are tired your nervous system is on alert. When I am tired, my hamstring muscle becomes weaker which makes it harder to bend the knee. The WalkAide is not going to help this.
The WalkAide will help you from tiring as fast though.

Did you ask if you could rent the WalkAide?

Good luck - let me know if you have further questions

Sharon
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WalkAide

Postby cas » Fri May 08, 2009 1:07 pm

Sharon,

Thank you so much for the information. These words alone can't express how you have helped me learn about the Walkaide and the process of obtaining one.

I am going through a rehab institute that I've been to before. The procedure isn't what I hoped for. I talked to a representative at Hangar and they don't allow prospective customers to take the Walkaide home for a trial run nor will the rehab center. My husband told me just to take a leap of faith and buy the Walkaide and devise my own "practice routine" with it (Heck, why wasn't I this apprehensive when I doled out thousands of dollars for Lasix surgery?).

I can tell by your posts, that results for me are not going to be instant. I am constantly revising my exercise routine to work on lethargic muscles. However, I can do no more by myself and hoping the Walkaide will take me to the next level (as the Wii exercise program is that I recently purchased).

I'm so happy that the Walkaide is working out so well for you. It is so refreshing to hear good news. Your detailed information is duly noted. I will refer to it often as I learn how to work with the Walkaide on my own.

cas
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Postby Sharon » Fri May 08, 2009 1:40 pm

Glad I have been able to help you
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WalkAide update

Postby cas » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:26 pm

Today is my six month anniversary since purchasing the WalkAide (Shortly after purchasing the WalkAide, my insurance company did cover the costs). This is my progress.

I very soon noticed an increase in my overall energy level; though the process of walking in the beginning was very exhausting. I had to gradually work up to wearing the WalkAide full time. But I was finally able to work hard instead of just being fatigued for doing mundane everyday things. I was/am in as good as shape as can be expected. Muscles all over my body were being used beyond what they have been able to do in years. I started looking for detailed pictures of leg muscles and what nerves made them respond to the act of walking. I haven’t walked properly/normally in years and my body/brain forgot how to do it. Understanding what happens to a person who has had a stroke became very beneficial. Everyday is like my own personal physical therapy day. As I walk, I am saying to my self “heel to toe” and humming an army cadence “right, right, right, left, right”. My body has forgotten how to properly propel my feet forward and what the proper stride. I still get fatigued and WalkAide or not, my body will revert back to its survival (incorrectly) way of walking. Then I know it is time to rest – maybe even call it a day.

The act of walking correctly alleviated many aches and pains. Before I could not sleep in a fetal position or sit with my legs crossed. My stability/balance has always been very poor but the WalkAide has increased my stamina allowing me to work harder on my core muscles. I am able to walk about 200 feet with a cane and longer with the aid of my husband’s arm. I am able to walk shorter distances without the cane depending on how tired I am. I am not leaping tall buildings in a single bound but my life has improved.

I don’t get a nice dorsiflexion (toes going up toward the sky) rather my foot everts (toward the side). I felt like there was an imaginary person at my side who had a string tied to my foot and every time I stepped forward, this person would yank my foot to the side. I work on trying to teach myself how to correct that and it is less noticeable now. I have a mirror strategically placed in my apartment so I can watch myself walk. The eversion feels more noticeable than it looks.

Instead of dabbing the electrodes with water, I use a dab of K-Y jelly. The water quickly dried out. If I don’t smudge the electrodes, they have lasted a good six weeks. Though changing them about every 3-4 weeks seems to be good for me. During the summer months, I was forced to buy several Capri pants to conceal the WalkAide. I didn’t want to be a conversation piece (personal preference). The WalkAide does fit under my jeans, though if I need to get to it, I have to pull my pants down. I have only changed the batteries three times. The first time I did was because I thought I was suppose to. The second time the bells and whistles on the WalkAide went off (luckily I was at home by myself). And the third time I could tell by the diminished response (firing) time, the battery was low. My point being, I have found the batteries to last a lot longer than the instruction manual advises.

Overall, the WalkAide has improved the quality of my life. It has become more a natural part of my being (In the beginning, I felt like I had an alien attached to my leg.). I hope there is more independence forthcoming but if this is the sum total, it is certainly better than where I was at. I hope the manufacturers improve on the design. It is bulky and cumbersome. If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to oblige.
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Postby Sharon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:07 pm

Cas -

Thank you for the update on your progress with the WalkAide. Wow! Your insurance company covered the costs -- this is really good news.

The eversion of the foot does take a bit of time to get used to -- I know what you say that the eversion is not as noticeable when looking at the foot as what it feels. I am able to get a lift of the foot (skywards) somedays -- isn't that crazy that it is not all the time? The ankle flexion is really important to work on. I think with the continual use of the WalkAide, your calf muscle and the tendons become tighter allowing less free movement of the ankle. Keep doing wall stretches -- I should have been more proactive with the stretches because now I really have to work at getting the ankle "free".

During the summer months, I was forced to buy several Capri pants to conceal the WalkAide. I didn’t want to be a conversation piece (personal preference). The WalkAide does fit under my jeans, though if I need to get to it, I have to pull my pants down


I play golf during the summer so I wear shorts or skorts that are just above my knee. I use something called a "skull wrap" by Under Armour to cover the WalkAide. It is about 4" wide and is elastic -- comes in black, red, white, and blue -- you can buy at Dick's Sporting Goods. I like it because it not only covers the WalkAide, but it also offers a bit of protection. I do not wear skinny jeans---so my WalkAide fits under my jeans nicely and I can pull up the pant leg to adjust.

The act of walking correctly alleviated many aches and pains


Yes, it makes such a difference.

Sharon
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WalkAide update

Postby cas » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:56 pm

Sharon,

I did pay for the WalkAide. I was looking at my on-line insurance statements and it stated that a check had been sent to the rehab center. I was confused because I already received a letter that coverage was denied. As soon as the rehab center received the insurance check, I was issued a refund.

My husband walks with me daily. I ask him to “watch” my foot and tell me what it is doing. He doesn’t notice the eversion as much as he use to. I have a HUGE library of exercises to strengthen every muscle in my body especially hamstrings and calves. I’m going to do more research on how the function of one’s ankle has to do with walking. My condo association recently added a small exercise room so I get to use a treadmill. Strengthening my muscles and practicing walking is my full time job. If I actually were paid, I’d be rich.

Thanks so much for the lead on the “Skull Wrap.” I already did a google search. You are very insightful.

ps I can only wear very good walking shoes. I can’t go barefoot or wear shoes with worn soles. I forgot to include that.

cas
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