For more information about the Walkaide, or to schedule a free evaluation with one or our experienced clinicians please contact us anytime.
1. What is the WalkAide?
The first of IN, Inc.’s line of functional electrical stimulation products, the WalkAide®
System is a medical device designed to counter a form of paralysis or weakness in the
leg, commonly referred to as foot drop, in patients who have sustained damage to upper
motor neurons or pathways to the spinal cord. The WalkAide electrically stimulates the
appropriate nerves and muscles in the leg to allow a patient with paralysis to walk
2. How does it work?
The WalkAide System uses advanced sensor technology to analyze the movement of the
patient’s leg and foot. In a timed manner determined from the data collected by the
sensor technology, electrical signals are sent to the patient’s peroneal nerve (i.e. the nerve
that controls the movement of the ankle and foot), prompting the muscles to raise the
patient’s foot at the appropriate time.
3. Is the WalkAide available to patients?
Yes, the WalkAide has been available nationwide to patients since May 1, 2006.
4. What is foot drop?
Foot drop is a condition of weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the foot and ankle
which interferes with a person's ability to flex the ankle and walk with a normal heel-toe
pattern. In many cases, the toes touch the ground before the heel, causing the person to
trip on his toes, lose balance, or drag the foot sideways.
5. What causes foot drop?
Occurring secondary to many different injuries or disease processes, foot drop is often
seen after a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and other pathologies such
as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
6. What is functional electrical stimulation?
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a method of applying low level electrical
currents directly to the motor nerve of the body to restore function.
7. Does the electrical stimulation of the WalkAide hurt?
No. The electrical stimulation used to produce a functional movement does not hurt.
Many people report a slight tingling during the period of time the stimulus is occurring.
8. What are the risks / side effects?
The safety and effectiveness of FES depends on the proper use and handling of the
WalkAide System. There are no specific risks; however, people with a history of severe
heart disease, seizures, and those who are pregnant should not use the WalkAide.
9. How much does the WalkAide cost?
The Walkaide System costs $4,495. This includes A Walkaide unit, suspension cuff, one
package of electrodes, clinical evaluation and all follow up visits. Walkaide users should
also plan for the maintanence costs of the Walkaide System. Electrodes will need
replaced every 3-6 weeks, and the AA battery will wear out about every 30 days. Typical
maintanence costs are about $12-$15 per month.
10. Is the WalkAide covered by insurance?
The WalkAide has been approved by the FDA. IN, Inc. is now working with insurance
companies to determine coverage for this device. Medicare has assigned a procedure
code for Walkaide System for 2009.
11. How does the WalkAide benefit the wearer?
• Improved gait
• Increased mobility
• Increased strength and endurance
• Decreased energy expenditure
• Prevention, retardation, and/or reversal of muscle atrophy
• Maintained or increased joint range of motion
• Increased confidence walking in crowds, upstairs, or on uneven surfaces
Additional benefits may include:
• Reduced incidence of injury
• Increased circulation
• Muscle re-education
• Maintained or increased bone density
• Strengthened damaged central nervous system pathways and muscle/spinal
12. How long should a patient wear the WalkAide each day?
WalkAide users typically walk more than 1000 steps per day and use the WalkAide for
eight hours per day.
13. Can children wear the WalkAide?
Currently, the components (i.e. the WalkAide unit and electrodes) are sized for the adult
population. It is possible for children/teenagers to use the system depending on how well
the Walkaide fits on their leg. We have successfully applied the Walkaide System to 2
children in the Omaha Metro. One 8 year old and one 16 year old.
14. Do you need a prescription for the WalkAide?
Yes. The WalkAide is a medical device; a prescription from a physician is required. If you
would like information to give your physician feel free to print any page on this website, or
contact us and we will send the information to you.
15. Can the patient use the WalkAide the day he or she receives it?
Yes. The patient can leave wearing the WalkAide the day he or she is fitted with the
device by an orthotist.
16. Do you need to charge the WalkAide?
No. The WalkAide System uses one standard non-rechargeable AA battery. Each AA
battery typically lasts for 30 days of daily use (i.e. eight hours of use per day).
17. What is an orthotist?
An orthotist is a specially-trained medical professional who designs, fabricates, fits, and
maintains standard and custom-made braces that provide external support to patients
suffering from musculoskeletal and neurological disorders, as well as injuries from sports
or other activities. The WalkAide is a device that would be fit on a patient by an orthotist.
18. What is the field of Myo-Orthotics?
Innovative Neurotronics coined the term Myo-Orthotics Technology™ to describe the
merging of orthotic technology, which braces a limb, with electrical stimulation, which
restores specific muscle function. More than simply bracing a limb to improve mobility,
Myo-Orthotics Technology™ devices actually restore the functionality of an impaired
limb by recreating a natural nerve-to-muscle response using electrical stimulation.
19. Before the WalkAide, how was foot drop treated?
To date, the most common treatment of foot drop has been an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO).
Fabricated from a variety of materials, AFOs hold the foot in a stationary position best
suited for walking. AFOs are effective in increasing safety and overall walking ability;
however, their benefit is primarily derived from a passive positioning of the foot and
ankle without the specific influence of available muscle control. In contrast, the
WalkAide stimulates the muscles of the leg to actively flex the foot and participate in the
walking pattern. The active participation of the musculature allows the limb to function
in a more normal manner while encouraging functional recovery of the affected limb. In
many cases, combined treatment programs consisting of an AFO and WalkAide produce
the best outcome.