A therapeutic shoe engineered to improve stroke recovery is proving successful and expected to hit the market by the end of the year. Since patients are often disappointed in their progress after being discharged from rehabilitation, the iStride’s portability allows patients to relearn to walk in a typical setting more often and for a longer duration.
The iStride device is strapped over the shoe of the good leg and generates a backwards motion, exaggerating the existing step, making it harder to walk while wearing the shoe. The awkward movement strengthens the stroke-impacted leg, allowing gait to become more symmetrical once the shoe is removed. The impaired foot wears a matching shoe that remains stationary.
“The backward motion of the shoe is generated passively by redirecting the wearer’s downward force during stance phase. Since the motion is generated by the wearer’s force, the person is in control, which allows easier adaptation to the motion,” says developer Kyle Reed, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering at USF. “Unlike many of the existing gait rehabilitation devices, this device is passive, portable, wearable and does not require any external energy.”