ActiveMSers Forums  

Go Back   ActiveMSers Forums > Forums > Gear

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-23-2017, 11:35 AM
ActiveMSers's Avatar
ActiveMSers ActiveMSers is offline
Dave @ ActiveMSers
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 3,607
Default Ingenuity strikes as MSer hits on solution for foot drop, weak hip flexors

Fellow active MSer Mike struck upon a clever solution and I wanted to share it with you all. We can be a stubborn bunch of SOBs. - D

My name is Mike and I have been living with MS for almost 16 years now.

Like most people living with MS for many years, my journey has had its ups and downs. When my MS progressed to the point that I finally had to stop working a couple years ago I struggled with the thought that I was destined to start using the power chair the insurance company bought for me a few years back. The power chair sits in my garage where I see it every time I come home. Seeing the power chair sitting there and my fear of losing my mobility has been the driving force for me to come up with a way to keep me moving.

I have hip flexor muscles issues and foot drop so I am not able to walk far and many daily tasks have become a real challenge and even dangerous sometimes. It would be easy to just give up and start using the power chair or staying home all day but that was not an option for me. I had to do something!

I was getting frustrated trying to lift or adjusting my leg when sitting. It was difficult getting in and out of my car or going up and down stairs. I decided to see what I could to do to help make these tasks easier. I looked on line but nothing seemed to be what I was looking for. It seemed simple enough to make something that I could use to move or lift my leg.

I went out and bought a sewing machine. I experimented with different leg slings and configurations. After numerous changes I came up with my first working prototype. It soon became a what if I did this would it help me be able to do that. This went on for another few months. Within 6 months I made numerous changes. My final prototype allowed me to accomplish many tasks that I was not able to do on my own.

I now was able to go up and down stairs and walk longer distances. Using my new device, I completed the one mile route on the MS walk this year. This was significant for me. I now use it every day to help me get around and conserve energy. This has changed my life in many ways.

I have really enjoyed the past few months. Having a goal and project to get my mind off my disability has been beneficial. Nothing beats feeling like you have a purpose in life.

Iím not sure what my next step will be but I do know that I want to make this device available to the many that can benefit from its use. Check it out on U Tube. Search for MS Muscle Strength Compensator or MSMSC for short. If it looks of interest tell your therapist to check it out. Thanks for reading my story and remember to not give up. Keep moving!
Dave Bexfield
Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2017, 12:32 PM
Suebee Suebee is offline
MS Whisperer
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 424

Dave & Mike,
This is great! Thanks for sharing this with us. I too have trouble with hip flexors and often use my hands to help lift a leg. Would this help if both hipflexors are weak along with weak core?

I think this is incredible that Mike worked out a way to support the weak muscles particular to MSers. The difference between Mike walking with the device and without is significant on the video. I often became frustrated with PTs when they had nothing to offer me for weak hipflexors but strengthening exercise (damn clams) This also infers that I'm not doing enough exercises if my hipflexors remain weak. Ugggh. I found a cane is really for balance and position sense and does not offload the weight from the hip, two walking sticks require a lot of tiring arm movements, and PTs seem to discourage arm crutches. But living with weak hipflexors and pain in hips is very hard. Just because someone is mobile doesn't mean it is not extremely effortful and painful to be so. This is a quality of life issue. I can't do anything if my back is spasming and my hips won't say aligned and become impinged after I walk and sit for a short time.

So when Mike said on the vdieo that he didn't want to go out because walking fatigued him and it was effortful, it really resonated with me. This is a struggle I don't think PTs or neuros fully appreciate. Recall the recent medical journal article that said MSers need more motivation to exercise.
Seems like what we really need is more inventions to be mobile like Mike's, not motivation!

Yay for Mike for looking for a solution.

Now Mike, have you considered sew up/design a hip/back/core support that addresses the MSer's triad of weak core/spine- hips-weak legs? I've been experimenting with clothing girdles/(medical) hip belts. Why must one be paralyzed before posture supports are given?

Good job Mike. Thank you.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2017, 04:37 PM
Toodles Toodles is offline
Junior Optimistic Misfit
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Colorado
Posts: 7

I sure could use two of these for getting in and out of rides at Disneyland, as well as my car. Wish they were available to purchase.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2017, 08:11 PM
LivWell LivWell is offline
MS Sage
Join Date: May 2012
Location: I live in Cameron Park Ca
Posts: 163

It was amazing seeing Mike going up a flight of stairs with his invention and his walking speed looked improved as he was using it.

I don't think people with MS lack motivation to be mobile either Sue and I have also been frustrated with the exercises that are recommended to me. I would go to therapy with what I thought was a unique problem and the same muscle groups needed work! But I don't know what else physical therapy would offer.

My PT was quick to recommend forearm crutches and they help me immensely. She felt it was important for me to be able to get around and not stay home because being mobile was too hard. I upgraded to a set of Sidestix a couple of years ago.

My PT also encouraged me to work on strengthening my core which has really helped, particularly with balance issues. I have gotten the best advice about managing through a relapse from PTs.

I think in general there is a lack of understanding about how MS impacts muscle strength once enough damage has been done. The effort it takes to get around is significant when hip flexors are weak. And if your lower legs and ankles are also weak, standing will be hard too.


My Two Numb Feet - An MS Diary
Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2017, 01:39 PM
Suebee Suebee is offline
MS Whisperer
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 424

Yes Livwell, WHY IS there a real lack of understanding by the medical community about the particular muscle weakness MSers have?
I was so impressed by the video of how much this device helped him walk, I tried pushing down on each of my quads as I walked. Other than the awkwardness of using my hands and arm strength to push my legs through a stride, it did make walking easier for me.

The hipflexors are so important to help move legs and keep hips stable. Yet no PT or neuro ever said to me, hipflexors are your problem....Instead, I'm told I have some weakness but not too bad....I think PTs and neuros measure ability to lift a leg firmly against pressure and stand without assistance. And time/distance to walk. But having weak hipflexors mean you might get a good 1/2 mile walk today but forget it if you want to walk again for a few days. This isn't related to motivation! This is related to using up reserved muscle strength and causing inflammation in tissues and jts due to poor recruitment/coordination from other muscles and stressing ligaments.

I know you can get a foot drop
TENs device. Can I get a TENs device that helps generate a muscle contraction higher up at quad level?
Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2017, 08:28 PM
Suebee Suebee is offline
MS Whisperer
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 424
Default panosonic trial FES device

I found 2016 article describibg how Panasonic developed a FES device with four pads and contects to quad and heel strike helps make the circuit, I think. Diagram shows stride. It was developed to help the elderly walk for exercise. Article connects improved quad strenght with Improved ADL and seems to loosely discuss importance of hip flexors/ abductor strenght. link to article
Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2018, 10:28 AM
Jmmmiller58 Jmmmiller58 is offline
Junior Optimistic Misfit
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 1
Default Helping hand For MSers

Hi Dave,
Just ran across this blog the other day. It really reminded me of how cruel MS can be to ones mobility and the impact it can have on their daily life.
My name is Mike and I am the person that developed the leg strap you saw in the Utube video. Thanks for sharing with your group. I have made a few changes to the device to make it easier to use. I also changed the name to make it easier to remember. I call it the "Flexion Support System". It is a slow process developing a device and trying to get manufacturing in place to make it available to people. It is also very expensive so that also is slowing me down a bit. I am doing it by myself and I continue to make progress although it seems slow. I recently contracted with a company to manufacture 200 units for me. I plan to turn up a website in the next 60 days to start making it available. I am missing one key component. To make the device with the resistance cords available I am told that to be on the safe side I should find someone like Hanger Clinic or have a physical therapist that will install and fine tune them. I have reached out to Hanger Clinic but have had no response.
If I can get that portion figured out I will start making the resistance cord version available.
Any one have any ideas? I'm definitely open to ideas.


Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.