Can a Specialized Shoe Help With Stroke Rehabilitation?

Stroke rehabilitation can be a long and arduous process, but every mile brings progress and allows for the patient to get back to a better and stronger life. Advances in the field are occurring at a super-fast pace, and the rehab process is brimming with new ideas, therapies, and products.

Some stats about stroke rehabilitation

Today, October 29, is World Stroke Day. Stroke is one the deadliest killers in the world today, and it can be a silent killer, happening quickly and unexpectedly. While a person may know if he’s a candidate for a stroke, it’s often only through secondary means and not an acute symptom. And sometimes, there is no prior indication at all.

According to the American Stroke Association, one of every four people will have a stroke at some point in their lives. That’s a quarter of all people living today. However, that number can be greatly lowered through lifestyle changes.

Dealing with the aftermath

Whether a stroke was preventable or not, stroke rehabilitation is a must for the patient to regain skills and improve functionality. The Alameda Center offers a superior stroke rehabilitation program for people who have been stabilized after a stroke and now need a full package of therapies for the best possible recovery.

One of the main consequences of a stroke is often an imbalanced walk. Stroke victims retain a functional loss in one side of the body which leads to the imbalance, and this can result in frequent falls and other accidents.

Research in the area is exploding, and many new products have recently become available to help patients.

Can a shoe help?

A new product on the market is a shoe, a simple idea that should bring great results.

The way the concept works is that the patient wears the specialized shoe on his better foot. The shoe is made to slow that foot down, so that the other foot, the impaired foot, has to work harder to perform. The harder that foot has to work, the more it will improve. This works in a similar way to many therapies that are currently being used for stroke rehabilitation, which inhibit the better side of the body to force the other side to keep up, rewiring it and helping it recover lost function.

One of the benefits of this product among the many fantastic ones available is the ease and cost. It’s a fairly effortless endeavor, and one that can be easily and frequently practiced by the patient, in all types of activities, even when therapy is not in session and even after the patient finished his stroke rehabilitation program and goes home.

Results of the trials

The iStride shoe is produced by Moterum LLC, a research and development company located inside of the University of South Florida Research Park. The company published results of its clinical trials in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. They had a small sample size of six people between the ages of 57 and 74 who’d all had strokes and asymmetrical walking ability because of it. They each received 12 session of gait therapy over four weeks of the study, and they all showed improvement in symmetry and speed after the trials. Three of the participants in the study started out not being able to leave their homes, and after the study were able to venture into public spaces.

More research needs to be done, but this is a promising new development in the crusade to help in stroke rehabilitation.

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