Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. Highlights Groundbreaking Technology for Drop Foot during Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

For National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Pittsburgh based Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. would like to highlight a new innovative technology, G4 FES Foot Drop. In March of 2003, National MS Education and Awareness Month was launched to promote a better understanding and awareness of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and body. This disease affects nearly 1 million people in the United States, according to the National MS Society in 2019. Currently, there is no cure for MS, but with treatment and prevention, you can slow and alleviate its effects.

Drop foot is one of the symptoms of MS caused by weakness in the ankle or disruption in the nerve pathway between the legs and the brain. This can cause the foot to hang down, drag or catch which can cause tripping and falling. There are three main treatments for foot drop; physical therapy, ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), and functional electrical stimulation (FES).

AFOs support the foot and ankle joint to provide stability, assist movement, the control range of motion, and/or accommodate or prevent deformity. Often made of plastic, carbon fiber, or metal, they extend up the calf and end below the knee. This helps hold the foot and ankle in the correct position while walking and doing daily tasks.
FES is a treatment that uses low levels of electrical currents that are similar to the natural electrical currents in the body. These currents stimulate the muscles causing them to contract. These devices can be used for a number of injuries and diseases including MS.

Union O & P is a provider of the new G4 FES Foot Drop. Coming a long way from the first FES developed in 1961, the G4 is the newest generation of the revolutionary FDA-cleared medical device. This new FES uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and the patent XFT AI Intelligence. The G4 will continuously learn and program itself as you walk customizing it to the patient’s specific walk pattern. It predicts the time and duration of each electrical impulse by tracking the swing angle and pace of a patient’s leg enabling each patient to walk naturally and safely. Made with stainless steel electrodes, G4 is the most waterproof device on the market making it easy to clean and comfortable to wear.

Our patient, Nanette Jergons, recently has gotten the G4. Nanette was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on July 22nd, 2005, and has been a patient of ours for the past 11 years. Despite having this chronic illness, Nanette’s infectious positive attitude has helped her push through this disease. She wants others to know, “that this is not a death sentence, you can still live off of this”. In the past, she has used various orthotic devices, including AFOs. The G4 helps with the feeling in her nerves and helps keep her muscles from just being stagnant. What helps set this device aside from other devices is that it helps exercise those muscles, and “help move [her] feet up and down”, which Nanette would not be able to do without the aid of the G4. We are excited to be able to provide this groundbreaking option to Nanette and our other patients.

Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is a family-owned and operated company with over one hundred years of service. We have always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with a professional and compassionate approach. Our services and techniques are continuously being upgraded to achieve the highest standard of excellence. Union O & P provides our patients with AFOs, FES, and other orthoses to meet each patient’s unique clinical needs. We work with the entire rehab team, including surgeons, physiatrists, therapists, and family members to develop a treatment plan to optimize the patients’ goals.

Want more information on the G4 FES Foot Drop System? Call us at (412) 622-2020

Blog by Kathryn Painter