I'm Jennie Jackson (JJ), this is a 'one stop shop' to provide INFORMATION & INSPIRATION for fellow clubbies considering the ExoSym Device (formally know as the IDEO).  Others may also benefit from this information.  

I am a Kiwi - born and bred in New Zealand and travelled to Gig Harbor, Washington, U.S.A. to get the device - best thing I have ever done!  It is the only place in the world where you can get it.

Please note that I am not a medical professional, just a girl born with a deformity who found a miracle at age 45. I want to share my story in the hope that others can benefit from this amazing technology.

ABOUT THE EXOSYM   (When I got this device it was called the IDEO - it is now called The ExoSym)

Laymens terms - In my words!:

It's an off-loading device that you 'wear', stepping into and onto it, strapping it to your lower leg via an under the knee and ankle cuff (see picture top right). It then slips into a regular shoe (generally a wide fitting sneaker/tennis shoe).  It is VERY custom made.  A cast of your lower leg is taken, then a test device made.  The test device is adjusted if needed and then the real thing is made, which is then tested extensively in the clinic with more working adjustments. Once you leave there, no-one else in the world will fit your device!

It feels like you are kindof walking on a small spring with the ankle held (cradled) in a fixed position.  The foot plate takes all the pressure off by making contact with the ground first sending weight/energy up the struts at the back deflecting impact and hence pain from your damaged ankle.  It's like a prothestic leg that 'walks' for you - but you get to keep your leg.

It's the 'perfect storm' as it allows you to walk with ease,  at the same time providing precious movement for blood flow and energy.  My ankle now feels better out of the device as it has been rested but moved - an amazing fine balance to achieve.  I have never seen my ankle look so 'small' as it's not constantly swollen.  

I've had a life-time of pain. discomfort and restricted activity, This got increasingly worse over the last few years.  The device has been a game changer for me.   My 'first walk' with the test device was truly incredible, bought me to tears, never in my life had I been able to walk with such ease.

It all happens at the highly specialised Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, USA.  From the casting, making, adjusting to the training.  It is an awe-inspiring place to be.  During your time there, you will meet amazing people from all walks of life that have faced many challenges. Their stories are inspiring and uplifting, especially when you see them hobble in, (some on crutches or even wheelchairs), then fitted with the device and start their new journey to walk/run - with huge smiles - it's truly magic :).  For me, it's 'the happiest place on earth' - an adult Disneyland for the physically challenged.!

More technical info from The Hanger Clinic and Ryan Blanck - in the pro's words!


The ExoSym is a lower extremity medical device designed to support, protect and restore function and independence for an extensive array of lower limb injuries. Many of these injuries result in significant soft tissue defects, nerve deficits, and fractures that prove debilitating to the patient. It was first created by Prosthetist Ryan Blanck in 2008 for service members (in the US military) with limb salvage conditions as an alternative to amputation. Since its development, close to 1000 service members and civilians have received the device. What eventually evolved into the ExoSym provides increased dynamics and energy return to give the patient more options for agility, running and high impact activities. Of the over 500 service members who have received custom ExoSym devices, many have returned to active duty and deployment. A significant number of these patients originally considered amputation, but were able to avoid it and even to achieve their set goals.

Ryan Blanck has now partnered with Hanger Clinic to develop a national specialty center for the ExoSym and advanced prosthetics in the Northwest. The ExoSym carries technology developed and proven within the Department of Defense to the civilian population when the goal is to restore high‐level activity and function to limb‐salvage and other patients with severe lower‐extremity dysfunction.


The ExoSym is more of a hybrid prosthetic‐orthotic design than a conventional orthosis. The upper section of the ExoSym incorporates many prosthetic socket design concepts applied to prosthetic limbs. Each case is evaluated for the degree of off‐loading that is most appropriate for the specific injury and dysfunction. The ExoSym incorporates a specialized dynamic energy‐storing strut system often utilized in prosthetic running limbs for amputees. This adaptation provides injury‐specific deflection, energy storage and power, all while maintaining control and minimizing pain.

Exact alignment and positioning is critical in order to optimize the ExoSym for each individual. Although many of these cases have similar injuries, each case must be carefully evaluated to determine the exact characteristics of strut resistance, ankle positioning, proximal off‐loading, and triplanar control. Each patient is evaluated utilizing a test system within the facility to make sure they are a good candidate for the ExoSym device. This also allows optimal alignment, positioning, off‐loading and control prior to building that patient’s custom ExoSym device.

In the beginning, the goal was to get service members to running, jumping, skydiving, and redeployed, sometimes carrying up to a 120‐pound ruck sack. Hanger Clinic continues to support the military in these goals, while at the same time bring this technology to the larger civilian population. People want to return to work, a life of comfort, greater stability and to return to the physical activities that are most important to them. This may mean coaching a soccer team, running a 5K marathon, or hiking a mountain.


The ExoSym is a tool to maximize each patient’s functional potential. As a patient progresses through their ExoSym rehabilitation, the ExoSym system may be required permanently (much like a prosthesis), but sometimes remains a critical component of task specific activities such as running or jumping when patients progress to part‐time usage. Each patient will develop their own understanding of how their  ExoSym device will best meet their goals whether they are to maintain active duty status in the military, return to work, play in a softball league, or even compete in their first triathalon since their injury..  A well designed clinical evaluation and fitting process and physical therapy regimen is in place to optimize the fit for each individual patient and train them how to properly utilize the device for every day use as well as physical activities, based on their individual case.

Hanger Clinic and I are extremely excited to introduce this revolutionary technology to patients who will benefit from this new and innovative technology. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the ExoSym project.


The design of the device has not only helped patients with limb salvage injuries but also partial foot amputations, sciatic nerve injuries, various forms of spinal cord injury, and other kinds of lower extremity dysfunction. Some of the diagnoses that have most recently been fit include (but are not limited to): Guillain‐ Barre syndrome, spina bifida, cerebrovascular accident, cerebellar ataxia, multiple sclerosis, ankle fusion, club feet, peripheral nerve injuries/dysfunction and tethered cord syndrome.

Those who have been provided the ExoSym device are able to return to a better quality of life which often includes being more active with their families, in the community, returning to work, running and higher levels of physical activity. Many of the Active Duty Service Members, who were the first to receive the ExoSym device, have returned to Active duty status because of the unique approach to Limb Salvage care the device provides.

Please see the contact page on how to move forward on getting your device.

With and Without - WOW!!

My custom made ExoSym - 

Some inspiring videos -