Peripheral neuropathy patients at high risk for falling had better balance and walked faster when wearing RxFunction’s sensation-boosting prosthesis in their shoes, according to a recent study.
Thirty-one male veterans aged 56-84 who lack sensation in their feet participated in the study of the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company’s Walkasins at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center Adaptive Design and Engineering Program. Most had fallen within the last six months.
The short-term study tested subjects who were randomly assigned to wearing Walkasins turned either ON or OFF. Later, the men put the devices back on and had them switched to the opposite power mode. At the end of the two treatment sessions, 16 of the 31 men had improved their functional gait assessment score beyond 23, indicating normal fall-risk status.
The study also found that the sensory balance information provided by Walkasins more than doubled the likelihood of improving clinically measurable balance. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Veterans Research and Education under a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Results were published recently in the journal PLOS One.
“This clinical research study demonstrates significant immediate improvements in balance and gait speed with short-term use of Walkasins, and more than half of the patients were moved from high fall-risk to normal fall-risk classification in the clinic,” said RxFunction co-founder Lars Oddsson in a news release. Oddsson developed the patented technology for Walkasins.
Benefits of long-term use of Walkasins are now being studied in the walk2Wellness trial, underway at several medical clinics across the country.
“This published study, our current walk2Wellness trial, and further planned human trials are essential to demonstrating how Walkasins benefits patients, lowers fall risk and improves quality of life when used by patients who can benefit from the technology,” said RxFunction CEO Tom Morizio.