Rehabilitation startup rolls out new muscle therapy device for leg paralysis

Axiobionics' Tripleflex system--Courtesy of Axiobionics

Axiobionics is rolling out a new line of rehabilitation devices for patients with leg paralysis, adding to its suite of muscle therapy products while offering an alternative to traditional orthotics.

The Ann Arbor, MI-based company's Tripleflex devices lift paralyzed limbs to counteract foot drop, a condition in which the muscles of the foot are not strong enough to lift up while walking, and hip and knee drop, where hip and knee flexors are too weak to support movement. Hip, knee and foot drop often result from neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy.

Unlike orthotics, which can restrict movement, Axiobionics' system puts energy into a patient's step by flexing the hip, knee and ankle joints. The device straps over the patient's lower limb and draws on built-up energy to facilitate movement. The product can be adjusted to the correct foot inversion by increasing tension in a lateral strap that goes around the foot, the company said on its website.

"We knew that traditional bracing had limitations and that patients wanted something more dynamic," Philip Muccio, president and founder of Axiobionics, said in a statement. "We listen to our patients' concerns and address them. Tripleflex is a direct result of meeting patient's needs. It's a new rehab paradigm with so much potential to help people."

But Axiobionics is not the only one working on innovative leg rehabilitation devices. In June, CyMedica scored $11.5 million in financing to back its leg-worn rehabilitation device, which uses neurostimulation to strengthen muscles before and after surgery. Last month, rehabilitation specialist AlterG locked in $15 million in debt to support product development. The company's AlterG Bionic Leg provides robotic assistance to a patient's leg, helping individuals stand, walk and use the stairs while offering a greater level of mobility.

- here's Axiobionics' statement