Hip Flexion Assist Device (HFAD)
The Hip Flexion Assist Device (HFAD) is BRP's first retail product available to both Medical Professionals and Users. Please follow the instructions under purchasing information (below) for details. The Hip Flexion Assist Device (HFAD) is intended for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who are experiencing hip flexor weakness. The Hip Flexion Assist Device is designed to improve gait and consists of a comfortable waist band and two dynamic tension bands that attach to the shoe. A recent study funded by the National MS Society, and published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation examined the efficacy and safety of this device in ambulatory MS patients, the results of the study indicated that for ambulatory patients with MS, the HFAD significantly improved gait performance, as well as improved strength in the limb fitted with the HFAD. Furthermore, the use of the HFAD was found to result in increased daily activity level.
1. Sutliff, Matthew H., PT; Jonathan M. Naft, CPO; Darlene K. Stough, RN; Jar Chi Lee, MS; Susana S. Arrigain, MA; and Francois A. Bethoux, MD. "Efficacy and Safety of a Hip Flexion Assist Orthosis in Ambulatory Multiple Sclerosis Patients." Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 89 (2008): 1611-1617.
Features: The HFAD is lightweight, manufactured from durable materials, easily adjustable, and available in stock sizes. It may be worn over or under clothing, as it attaches to the shoelaces no special footwear is required.
Clinical Application: The Hip Flexion Assist Device may be beneficial for individuals with MS who are currently ambulatory but have difficulty initiating swing due to hip flexor weakness:
- Have hip flexor, knee flexor, or ankle dorsiflexor weakness
- Fatigue when walking, resulting in limited endurance
- Drag the weaker leg with compensatory movements (such as hip hiking, circumduction of the effected leg, or vaulting off of the contralateral foot)
- Have tried to use an AFO to compensate for foot drop, but still struggle to walk due to hip and knee flexor weakness
Clinical Contraindications: The Hip Flexion Assist Device should not be used by individuals who have:
- Back pain of 4/10 or higher (on a numeric pain rating scale)
- Open wounds in the waist region
- Feeding tubes
- Valgus deformities
- Upper extremity weakness (that may impair proper donning and doffing of the device)
- Impaired coordination (that may impair proper donning and doffing of the device)
- Significantly impaired cognition (that may impair proper donning and doffing or safe use of the device)
As the Hip Flexion Assist Device generates a force that assists hip flexion, knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion, it also challenges the antagonistic muscles (hip extension, knee extension, and ankle plantarflexion). Mild soreness may develop in these muscles when beginning to wear the device; therefore, it is important that users adhere to the wear schedule outlined in the User Instructions. It is strongly recommended that users regularly see a physical therapist or orthotist to receive gait training and be monitored for any signs of complications (pain, skin irritation, etc.). If complications occur, device wear should be discontinued until the complication is resolved.