Electronic leg brace gives polio patient new mobility

14 Feb 2011

A 63-year-old woman suffering from muscular paralysis as a result of childhood polio has become the first UK patient to wear a revolutionary, electronically controlled leg brace that helps restore or maintain mobility.

Jane Rutterford, a retired mother of two from Essex, is now experiencing a regular walking pattern for the first time due to the device, which has recently become available on the NHS.

The E-MAG Active from Otto Bock Healthcare, designed to boost mobility and the quality of life of stroke and polio patients, uses intelligent sensor technology to constantly measure the position of the wearer’s leg while walking, ensuring it locks and unlocks at the right times.

Jane Rutterford, a retired mother of two from Essex, wearing the E-MAG Active leg braceIt is a lightweight system that works independently of the ankle joint or sole of the foot. As a result, users with no ankle functionality due to paralysis caused by a stroke or polio are able to achieve improved mobility via a more natural, smoother gait pattern when doing everyday tasks such as strolling through the park, gardening or walking around a supermarket.

Jane had polio at nine years old and is now dealing with Post-Polio Syndrome. The electronically controlled knee-joint, launched earlier this year in the UK, provides her with constant orthotic support to help prevent her getting overly tired during the day (see photo on right).

“The E-MAG Active is wonderful and I’m sure it is the way forward for polio patients like me with walking difficulties,” commented Jane Rutterford. “Wearing the E-MAG is like having therapy while getting on with your life, offering me excellent support to do the things I love doing such as gardening. It’s essential for me as a person to be as independent as possible and as it’s so comfortable I can wear it all day every day. It’s become an integral part of my life; the support it gives me is terrific.”

“Post-Polio Syndrome affects around 100,000 people in the UK, while approximately a further 300,000 people are living with moderate to severe disabilities as a result of stroke,” said David Buchanan, Business Development Manager of Otto Bock Healthcare. “Appropriate rehabilitation helps to provide a better outcome, but orthoses such as those designed by Otto Bock aid and enhance the recovery process. We are delighted that Jane is benefiting from greater confidence and independence in her every day life thanks to the mobility, safety and reliability that E-MAG Active is providing her with.”

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