Insightful - Foot & Ankle Systems Products LLC - Foot & Ankle Systems Step-Smart -foot / ankle brace

Step-Smart Custom Foot & Ankle Brace Solution

(Patent #7,682,322)

Insightful Products LLC has recently introduced the Step-Smart AFO brace solution for Foot Drop which has received praise and appreciation from those that have tried other solutions.  

 

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BioMechanically, the Step-Smart design is more energy efficient than the competitive designs.  It's more desirable than the stiff design, since it allows for good plantarflexion at heel strike.  It's more desirable than the flexible designs, since it is preloaded.  The benefit of a preload on the system is critical to shock absorption. Also, the Dorsi Flexion assist joints allow better clearance at swing phase.

Gait Efficient

With drop foot, however, it is not desirable to have a design with free plantarflexion.  Naturally, our bodies control the deceleration at heel strike with an eccentric contraction of the dorsiflexors.  This combined with a slight flexion moment at the knee is what creates the shock absorption.  With other flexible solutions, there is too much plantarflexion at heel strike causing foot slap.  The result is trauma and pain to the calcaneous.  The reason that the Step-Smart design is superior to the others is that it provides resistance to plantarflexion the instant the heel hits the ground.  Some other designs need to be plantarflexed before the resistance is high enough to be effective.  By then it is too late.  The shock of hitting the ground has already damaged the foot and ankle.  The new Step-Smart provides a pre-load that controls deceleration at contact. 

The Custom Step-Smart has come closest to providing the right amount of deceleration (dictated by pre-load).  It is appreciated by the medical community because patients feel better during ambulation.

 

Download the before and after patient video here