UF smart sensor sends alert if mending patient is too daring on their feet

In In the Headlines, News, Research & InnovationBy Bill LevesqueStory originally published on UF Health News

UF engineering professor Swarup Bhunia, Ph.D., left, and UF Health foot and ankle surgeon R. James Toussaint, M.D., invented a sensor that can help protect patients after foot and ankle surgery. The device could have many additional applications. (Photo by Nate Guidry)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A physician isn’t going to follow a patient home to ensure they’re doing as instructed and not placing weight on a surgically repaired foot.

“Sometimes someone swears they didn’t put weight on their foot, but then they come to their next appointment with a dirty cast,” said University of Florida Health foot and ankle surgeon R. James Toussaint, M.D.

It’s not that the patient is necessarily at fault. Life happens. And some people have nerve damage called neuropathy that makes it difficult to feel when pressure is placed on an injured foot. The patient might be a child who doesn’t know better.

The solution: innovation.

Toussaint and UF engineering professor Swarup Bhunia, Ph.D., have invented a new wearable Bluetooth device they hope will revolutionize patient safety in orthopaedics, allowing doctors and patients to receive real-time alerts from an unobtrusive electronic sensor pasted on a limb or worn in a shoe. Toussaint is the division chief in foot and ankle surgery in the UF College of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.

Read full story at UFHealth.org