This advanced system, the NESS L300® Plus System by Bioness uses mild Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for the treatment of foot drop. Central nervous system injuries often result in foot drop – a condition stemming from a weakness or paralysis in the muscles that under normal circumstances work to lift the front portion of the foot. Foot drop tends to cause patients to drag a foot on the ground or lift a leg outward to move forward.
The rehabilitation system builds on the proven success of Bioness’ L300® Foot Drop System and is designed to additionally stimulate the muscles of the thigh. Both products are worn on the leg as a lightweight device that delivers stimulation to various muscles in the leg to alleviate foot drop. Utilizing a wireless communication system, the system’s heel sensor detects when the foot is on or off the ground, controlling the knee, making it easier to walk. The system can be programmed to meet each individual patient’s need.
“The condition of foot drop is not only frustrating, but can also cause a great deal of embarrassment because it causes people to trip or fall.” said Dr. Jenny Lai, section chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. “The fact that this device allows foot drop sufferers to lift their foot and advance their leg without thinking about it is a very big deal,”
Lai says in the past people with foot drop have either worn special shoes or straps that immobilize the ankle to help them get around. This new system is not as cumbersome and can be worn all day long.
“People with foot drop tend to lose muscle mass because they cannot properly use their foot,” Lai said. “We hope this new device will not only stimulate the nerves and help bulk up the muscle enough to increase muscle mass that has been lost, but also give patients more confidence when they walk and a better quality of life.”
The Methodist Hospital is the only facility in the Houston area currently using these devices to help patients with foot drop and gait problems.