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Gear & Gadgets

More than half of stroke survivors have some challenges walking. The good news is there are many walking aids to help improve walking function after a stroke.

StrokeSmart Staff Jan 31, 2009

Pilot Rolling Cane
Best for: Going longer distances
Web site: http://www.pilotrollingcane.com/
What is it? The Pilot Rolling Cane was designed by a cane user to make walking easier and smoother. It is similar to a quad cane but has a wheeled base. The design helps with balance and provides a more natural gait.
What's cool? The wheeled base is pretty cool. It helps with your walking and you don’t have to pick it up and move it. But, if a cane with wheels didn’t tip the “cool” meter — how about a cane with breaks? The upper handle has an easy-to-use brake for safety and confi - dence on inclines and declines. The easy-rise handles are another great feature. Second and third handles positioned lower on the cane assist you as you stand up from a seat. The brake is automatically applied when either handle is pressed.
Drawback: It has wheels for a base, not a sticky rubber stopper. This concept can be a little scary for those who have not used this cane before.
Price: $99


Pilot Step-Up Cane
Best for: Getting up stairs or into the car
Web site: http://www.pilotstepupcane.com/
What is it? For many stroke survivors who are relearning how to walk, stepping up can be a problem. The height of the curb or stair might be too high to step onto. The Pilot Step-Up Cane provides a solution by cutting your stepping height in half.
What's cool? It’s simple, effective and has a hint of James Bond coolness. Simply step on a button and a sturdy platform folds out of your cane. The height of the platform is half the height of a normal step or curb, getting you closer to the next step. Once you have used your half step, simply step on another button and the platform folds back into your cane. With the platform back in the cane, the Pilot Step-Up Cane functions as a standard quad cane.
Drawback: The Pilot Step-Up Cane is extremely light. So, some users may not have confi dence that it is sturdy enough. But, this cane can support up to 250 pounds.
Price: $79.99


WalkAide
Best for: Walking without a brace
Web site: http://www.walkaide.com/
What is it? The WalkAide is a device designed for stroke survivors suffering from foot drop. It uses functional electric stimulation to help improve walking function without a brace. what’s cool: This is a one piece device that uses only one AA battery, and doesn’t require anything in your shoes. In fact, you can go barefoot!
Drawback: If your foot drop is due to peripheral neuropathy, the WalkAide will not work for you. The WalkAide must stimulate a viable nerve. Pacemakers are contraindicated for this type of device.
Price: $4500


Dolomite Symphony Rollator
Best for: Better posture and smooth walking
Web site: http://www.clarkehealthcare.com/
What is it? The Symphony is a lightweight rollator, or a 4-wheeled walker, equipped for one hand breaking. Its large wheels provide a smooth ride both indoors and out.
What's cool? The Symphony’s flip-up seat and handles are designed so that you can stand within the frame, keeping you stable and secure. You can get special brakes to help control direction and speed. It comes in three frame sizes, and the handles adjust for better posture. It includes a large basket to carry your things, but you can also attach a cane holder, beverage tray or oxygen tank holder. The light frame folds easily for storage and travel and supports up to 350 pounds.
Drawback: There is a newer braking technology that uses rods instead of cables. Some other rollators have a higher weight rating of 440 pounds.
Price: Starts at $576


Up n’ Go
Best for: Supported hands-free walking
Web site: http://www.easy-walking.com/
What is it? The Up n’ Go is a body weight support system. It gives your legs the upper-body support you need to stand up, sit down and walk. A simple harness hooks into the system and keeps the weight of your upper body lifted so that you can use your legs.
What's cool? The support that the Up n’ Go provides to your upper body allows you to walk without having to hold onto the handles. You can adjust the support level to take up so much weight that it feels like you are in water. The Up n’ Go can be used to get in and out of a chair, during physical therapy or to help you exercise. With the Up n’ Go, you gain strength and range of motion in your legs and improve your balance.
Drawback: In some cases, you will need a caregiver to help with the Up n’ Go. As with anything, it requires practice as you relearn how to walk.
Price: $2,450


Step-Smart
Best for: Helping people with foot drop
Web site: www.swedeo.com/step_smart.htm
What is it? Step-Smart is a low profile easy-to-use brace. It is designed to mimic natural foot and ankle movements and handle shock absorption for those with foot drop.
What's cool? The Step-Smart brace is small and comfortable. For those who suffer foot drop, the toes often drag or catch on the ground as they bring their foot forward, making walking difficult and unstable. The Step-Smart has a special feature that pulls the top of the foot up to clear the ground as the leg comes forward. The brace comes with the required pieces to provide different levels of shock absorption. Customize it to suit your own needs.
Drawback: The Step-Smart cannot be worn with boots or pumps.
Price: $399


NESS L300™ Foot Drop System
Best for: People suffering from foot drop website: http://www.bioness.com/
What is it? The NESS L300™ is small device worn on the lower leg and foot. It creates natural movement of the foot and ankle, allows stroke patients to walk again and increases walking speed and stability.
What's cool? It helps with foot drop — without the need for surgery. Foot drop prevents the foot from lifting. This causes balance problems and makes walking difficult. The NESS L300™ helps you regain proper movement and lift in your leg. A very small electric current assists the muscles in your leg to move correctly. This device can be used to retrain your muscles, keep your muscles from getting weak and improve your circulation. It is easy to use and can be worn all day.
Drawback: The NESS L300™ may not be right for everyone. Individual results vary and patients must get a doctor’s prescription for evaluation.
Price: Call for pricing, financing options, and insurance reimbursement information.

 

SmartNav 4 AT

SmartNav hands-free mouse allows those who have lost use of their hands to use a computer. With SmartNav, you use simple head movements to control the mouse on your computer screen. You place a reflective dot on your head or on a hat and mount an infrared camera to your computer. Simply look at the computer, move your head and the mouse will move accordingly. Depending on the package you buy, there are different options for clicking. Voice controlled clicking allows you to tell the computer when to click. Dwell clicking requires the mouse to hover over a single spot then it clicks. The system includes a virtual keyboard for typing.

Price: $499
Phone: (888) 865-5535
http://www.naturalpoint.com/

 

Sights ‘n Sounds

This easy-to-use speech therapy software improves pronounciation and word retrieval. Here’s how it works: The program shows either a picture or word on the computer screen and speaks the word for the patient to hear. The program then records the patient saying the word and plays back the patient recording as well as the computer version for comparison. The program has more than 400 words, six lessons and a variety of levels. You can also purchase different versions that allow you to customize the software by creating your own lessons and adding your own words — names of family members, hobbies, work vocabulary, etc.

Price: $129.50 for home version

Phone: (540) 951-0623

http://www.bungalowsoftware.com/

 

Steady Hand

Writing with a clear and steady hand can be a challenge for many stroke survivors. Steady Hand is a magnetic pen or pencil holder that provides extra support, allowing you to have more control while writing. Steady Hand comes with a 12 inches by 18 inches metal work surface that interacts with a magnet in the holder’s base. This setup provides resistance and stability for writing clearly. The design of the holder positions the pen or pencil at the best writing angle and fits any standard sized writing utensil. The product also comes with three different buffer caps to help with all levels of tremors.

Price: $58

Phone: (888) 284-5433

http://www.hemiglide.com/


The product descriptions have been provided by the manufacturers and are for informational pruposes only. A product’s inclusion in StrokeSmart™ does not imply endorsement by National Stroke Association.

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