2022 Arthritis Ideator Award Winner
The idea: WithinStride®, by PROVA Innovations
The ideator: Matthew Rosato
The solution: ‘Smart’ in-soles that aid in gait rehabilitation for people with early- and mid-stage knee and hip osteoarthritis.
Matthew Rosato’s career as an entrepreneur and innovator was inspired by accompanying his son, who lives with cerebral palsy, to physiotherapy.
“I would watch our therapist correct my son’s gait using her hands and voice, guiding his feet in clinic, but had no way to reinforce these movements at home,” says Rosato, an aerospace engineer.
“I realized that motor memory is only learned through repetition and practice and that these improper movements were putting more stress on his joint. There’s a strong likelihood he may develop early hip and knee osteoarthritis.”
Rosato was determined to make it easier for people with early hip and knee osteoarthritis to learn better movement patterns at home and PROVA Innovations was born. Rosato and his team have created the WithinStride® gait training system, the heart of which are wearable insoles that provide real-time gait analysis and training through sensory prompts that correct gait as individuals go through their daily activities.
“This is a non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical method of changing behaviour and aims to reduce the wear and tear on joints,” Rosato says. “The goal is to slow down the progression of the disease and allow gait retraining to happen in a home environment.”
Four million Canadians live with osteoarthritis, and weight-bearing joints such as the knee and hip are most commonly affected.
WithinStride®’s mobile app allows individuals and clinicians to set goals, track progress and provide customized treatment plans.
“It’s an intuitive, non-invasive way to change movement,” Rosato says.
He plans to use his Arthritis Society Canada Ideator Award funding to conduct a clinical trial this fall.
“This award is a big deal for our team,” Rosato says. “Having Arthritis Society Canada as a long-term partner is fantastic. It really is a validation of our work and creates opportunities for PROVA to move forward.”
“Having Arthritis Society Canada as a long-term partner is fantastic.”