Walkasins - a new and unique solution to help patients with peripheral neuropathy who have balance problems.
Peripheral neuropathy patients develop balance problems that limit their physical function and mobility, impeding participation in social and physical activities causing decreased health and quality of life.
The patent protected technology in walkasins employs pressure sensors on the bottom of the foot that measure changes in pressure as you sway during standing or while walking. This information is transferred to multiple vibrating actuators through an algorithm that provides instant tactile cues that are interpreted as a new balance sense.
Balance related falls are dangerous and expensive.
According to the CDC “In the next 13 seconds, an older adult will be treated in a hospital emergency department for injuries related to a fall. In the next 20 minutes, an older adult will die from injuries from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65 years and older in the United States, and can result in severe injuries such as hip fractures and head traumas.” In 2013, the direct medical costs of older adult falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion. With the population aging, both the number of falls and the costs to treat fall injuries are likely to increase.
Multiple factors play a role in falls and related injuries, however poor balance is the cause of the majority of falls in older adults.
Peripheral neuropathy presents symptoms such as numbness, tingling, electricity, or even burning sensations and are often found in the feet. This is the result of damage done to the peripheral nerves of the body. In the U.S. more than 20 million suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Increased mobility leads to a better long term health outcome.
Walkasins thin consumable sole inserts measure foot pressure, are cut to size, to fit under a custom orthotic or in a regular shoe. The leg unit delivers gentle tactile cues that reflect real-time balance information at a location above the ankle where skin sensation is still present. Following a brief training period, patients learn to use these cues as new sensory balance information.
Smart soles, smart insoles, pressure sensing sole inserts
The Walkasins system consists of a Leg Unit and a Foot Pad. The Leg Unit wraps around the lower leg of the user and contains electronics for reading Foot Pad signals, a microprocessor as well as four vibrating motors that provide tactile sensory cues to the user. The Leg Unit has a power button, two status LEDs and a reset button on the back. Power is supplied by an internal battery which is charged through a micro USB port. The Foot Pad is placed under the user’s foot and connects to the Leg Unit through a physical cable. .
Walkasins are currently being designed and developed for individuals with peripheral neuropathy who have balance problems. Walkasins have not been submitted to the FDA for review, and are not available for sale at this time.