UAlberta Research in Your Life

The WalkAide®:
Helping people walk better, easier, faster, and further                

This small device can help restore lost foot control to people who suffer from a condition called foot drop. With the WalkAide people with foot drop can walk easier and more stable again. Foot drop can result from multiple brain or spinal conditions or trauma such as stroke, spinal cord or brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, even a brain tumor.

Restores lost nerve and muscle response
Invented by UAlberta neuroscientist Richard Stein, the device analyzes movement and delivers gentle electrical signals to a nerve that controls ankle and foot movement. The iPod sized battery-powered WalkAide is worn just below the knee, where its sophisticated sensor technology re-stores nerve and muscle response. Gentle electrical impulses activate muscles to raise the foot at the right time in the user’s step cycle. The device not only helps people walk better, but also easier, faster and further and with less energy. Moreover, over time, many people using the device build up their muscle strength enough to walk better without the device for a time.

Now sold around the world
In 2004, Hanger Orthopedic Group, one of the world’s largest orthotic/prosthetic companies licensed the WalkAide and now sells it worldwide. In Canada, the WalkAide is distributed by Karl Hager Limb & Brace Ltd.