Unveiled to coincide with the opening of the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) at Heriot-Watt University, the Novabow device is designed to prevent and treat sporting injuries and a number of foot complications and disease.
In a statement, Gerry Farrell, managing director of Jomarg Innovation Ltd and inventor of the Novabow foot exercise device, said: “In recent years, our understanding of the vital role that intrinsic foot muscles play has grown exponentially. Modern footwear weakens the feet so most of us lack the strength we need for correct balance and exercise. This can contribute to a range of toe deformities, pain, and injury.
“One of the main reasons people stop playing a sport or enjoying exercise is because of pain. Many of the foot exercises available focus on the wrong muscles or don’t adequately or easily reach the intrinsic muscles. As an amateur athlete, I wanted to prevent sporting injuries and the results of our pilot studies at Napier and Stirling Universities have been extremely positive. We have also tested the device long-term with Olympic hammer thrower Chris Bennett who was set to have surgery before resolving his knee and back issues using the Novabow device.”
He added: “As a dentist trying to launch a unique exercise system with clear medical benefits, I’ve encountered many challenges. The MDMC team at Heriot-Watt University helped me with detailed CAD drawings and provided an introduction to exactly the right kind of specialist plastic manufacturer.”
People living with diabetes are at a particularly high risk of complicated foot conditions including neuropathy, which leads to severe numbness in the feet. A diabetic with this condition is 20 times more likely to fall than someone without diabetes. This increases the risk of injury, particularly as an individual gets older, but foot and ankle exercise programs have improved and even reversed neuropathy.
Another challenge for those living with diabetes is ulceration, which can lead to infection and eventual amputation. Research shows that ulcer recurrence is reduced using foot and ankle exercise from 72 per cent to 16 per cent with this type of exercise.
Professor Marc Desmulliez, manager of MDMC, said: “The MDMC has been established to help SMEs like Jomarg Innovation to source the right manufacturers for their product, to fully utilise our £2M lab equipment with expert guidance and to navigate the challenging path of medical device regulation.”
The Novabow Foot Exercise System holds patents for Europe and the USA. It has been supported by collaborators including the Scottish Enterprise, Napier and Stirling Universities, Interface and Business Gateway, Glasgow City Council.