For patients with diabetic and motor neuropathy, an electrical stimulation device, combined with pressure monitoring and thermometry, may be able to act as a “pacemaker” to stimulate the foot.
At the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), we have become increasingly interested in the Walkaide system (Hanger Orthopaedics) and its potential future as a delivery system for extracorporeal nerve and muscle stimulation. The device uses electrical stimulation to improve walking in patients with post-stroke footdrop, according to the company.
In the future, we see some significant potential for utilizing the Walkaide in our high-risk patients with diabetic sensory (and motor) neuropathy.
Imagine stimulating the lower extremity and modulating plantar pressure or impulse/pressure in real time. Imagine connecting this device wirelessly to a real-time pressure-sensitive insole or sock. Imagine then porting in an inflammation measurement device like thermometry.
These products now exist independently. If we put them together, we may then have a closed loop system for prevention. This could be a “pacemaker” for the high-risk foot.
Editor’s note: This blog has been adapted with permission. It originally appeared at www.diabeticfootonline.blogspot.com.