Getting the hang of the Walk Aide
August 10, 2014
I have learned three important lessons — how to take care of the electrodes, how to make sure that I put the device in the right place on my leg, and how and when to use the exercise mode.
First: Take care the electrodes.
Before I place the Walk Aide on my leg each morning, I put a small amount of water on the electrodes to ensure a strong electrical connection. When I remove the device at the end of the day, I cover the electrodes with a thick plastic film. To further protect the electrodes, I keep the Walk Aide in a sealed plastic bag. when I am not wearing it. (With proper care, the electrodes can last for a month.)
Second: Put the Walk Aide in the correct spot.
Even though my leg is marked with a permanent marker at the spot where I place the active electrode, that mark can fade or wear off. So I keep a permanent marker with me at all times to re-mark my leg. I am especially careful to re-mark my it after swimming or bathing. For the device to work, the electrode must be placed directly on that mark. (For best results, the mark should be in the exact center of the electrode.)
Third: Use the exercise mode each morning.
The five-minute exercise mode wakes up the peroneal nerve so that the Walk Aide can do its magic. With the device in exercise mode, I sit with my leg fully extended and my ankle supported on a small step-stool, and I watch how the device moves my foot. The Walk Aide is supposed to raise the front of my foot and move it slightly to the outside. When the it lifts my foot during the exercise mode, I try to assist it to strengthen my weak calf muscles. If my foot moves too far up or outward in the exercise mode, I can readjust the dial on the Walk Aide before I start walking.
One more thing while I’m at it: The effects of fatigue
I have worn the Walk Aide an average of eight hours a day. The more I wear it, the less my foot and ankle muscles feel fatigued at the end of the day. Still, I pay close attention to the way my foot and ankle feel. When fatigue begins to set in, the front of my foot doesn’t lift far enough, and I can easily trip and fall. (Past experience has proven that I am a talented and versatile faller. Past falls have caused injuries ranging from small bruises to a large broken bone.)
Have you used a Walk Aide or Bioness device to help with foot drop? Tell me about your experience.
FUTURE WALK AIDE POSTS: Doing exercises to strengthen my foot, ankle, leg and hip. And deciding whether or not to purchase the contraption.