Thursday, December 8, 2011


This past few weeks have been a flurry of appointments, trying to restore some functionality to Al's left side. His parents were here in early November and got us started on the path to exploring Bioness. Bioness manufactures the Bioness L300 for foot drop and the Bioness H200 for hand paralysis.

Foot drop is the dropping of the forefoot due to weakness, damage to the peroneal nerve (not to be confused with the perineal nerve) or paralysis of the muscles in the anterior portion of the lower leg. It is usually a symptom of a greater problem, not a disease in itself. It is characterized by the inability or difficulty in moving the ankle and toes upward (dorsiflexion). Foot drop causes Al to not be able to take a step without his foot dragging on the ground. After several months of therapy, Al "walked" away with an AFO, an ankle-foot-orthosis, which is a rigid brace that keeps his foot from dropping. It's a nice short-term solution, but it doesn't offer much hope for regaining normal locomotion, since it simply holds his foot and ankle in place.

We are excited to have discovered the idea of something that can potentially rehabilitate his leg further than just sticking it in a brace for the rest of his life. And the H200 could be revolutionary for Al's arm. To be able to actually grasp an item with his left hand - which he hasn't been able to do for almost a year - will be a fantastic step forward!

However exciting these new possibilities are, there is also much decision-making to be done. One possibility leads to many more possibilities: Bioness is only ONE type of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). Al's parents have been doing non-stop research, and have also come across the WalkAide , which Al will also be trying.

And just recently, we discovered yet another company called AxioBionics, and the concept of "Wearable Therapy". It combines FES with something like a prosthetic that Al would wear on his leg to stimulate the right muscles in order to walk correctly. What is truly exciting about AxioBionics is that there are pieces of equipment for MANY parts of the body: torso, abdomen, shoulders, upper & lower arm, etc.

So, exciting advancements are on the horizon. Tomorrow night, we have an in-home evaluation for the AxioBionics Wearable Therapy. On Monday, we will commence Al's Bioness H200 fitting. The following week, we will get Al's new AFO and possibly try out the Walk Aide, if he's not already using the AxioBionics therapy.

All of these things will help to improve Al's everyday functioning. That will hopefully lead to the ability for him to return to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment