If you’ve ever twisted or sprained your ankle, you know that recovery can be slow and painful. A smart shoe helps you heal faster and safely.
Did you know that a broken bone heals faster than damage to your ligaments? Ligaments are the tissues that connect your bones to each other. They have little blood supply, so they can take a long time to heal. Traditional treatments rely on casts and braces to hold the parts in place and avoid putting any additional strain on the damaged tissues. But too much stiffness can limit motion, slowing recovery and even raising the risk of injuring other parts of the body that may compensate for the limited movement. Researchers at Arizona State University have created a smart shoe that actually adjusts its level of support based on the wearer’s activity. Driven by machine learning, the shoe can identify situations that might lead to reinjury, and can automatically increase the level of ankle support in real time. This approach allows the patient to walk normally without support, and only have movement restricted when moving in ways that could make matters worse without the support.