To start the process of getting an ExoSym:


The Hanger Clinic
3555 Erickson Street
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Phone: (253) 572-7478
Fax: (253) 593-7980
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 A.M. - 5 P.M


Best idea is to email Ryan and CC Koreen, that way your bases are covered for all the info you need to move forward - 


Ryan Blanck, CPO

Area Clinic Manager

National Upper Extremity Prosthetic Specialist

Lower Extremity Prosthetic Specialist

ExoSym Program Director

[email protected]


Koreen Peterson

Office Administrator

ExoSym Program Administrator

[email protected]




Or please feel free to contact me about ANYTHING!!!  More than happy to answer any question, big or small via email, facebook or if you prefer a chat on the phone or skype:


Email:

[email protected]


Facebook:

I'm under Jennie Jackson, just send me a private message

https://www.facebook.com/jennie.jackson.796


Skype:

jennie,jackson70


Phone:

Local:

09 555 8986 landline (International  + 64 9 555 8986)

021 0262 0259 cell (International  + 64 21 0262 0259)



FAQ's - these are answered by me to best of my knowledge and my experiences.  Some q's below are also answered by others with the ExoSym (their initials will pretext it), from their own experiences.  Please confirm your specific case with

The Hanger Clinic pro's!



How much?

$9,000 USD per device - yes it's double if you need two.  This price is correct to the best of my knowledge as at November 6th 2015.  Please confirm this with the clinic.



Can I get this on insurance?

As I am not from the US - I don't have any knowledge of the insurance process.  Please see the 'other stories' page and there are US based people on there who may be able to help you with this.  What I have heard is that it is a battle and sometimes won but not always.  I paid out of pocket for mine (worth every cent).


How long will it last?

@ 3-5 years depending on level and type of activity.


Has the product been around long enough to know that 5 years might be it's max life?  Curios if anyone has had it longer than 5 years to see 'real life' longevity.

The US Military have had it for 6 years, so it's been tested by them.  I met a soldier that has had his for 5 years and still going strong.  Ryan will have info on the longevity for the military.  The longest civilian term is 2 years plus so far.  It's only been available to civilians since Sep 2013.


How many times and how long do I need to go to the clinic?

This depends a bit.  As far as I know international customers go for 2 weeks and get it all done at once (that's what I did).  But generally most people make 2 visits - one for casting and the test device (couple of days) and then return for the real thing and training (@ a week).  Please confirm this with Ryan and Koreen at the clinic.


What if I need an adjustment months later - do I have to return?

Yes, no and maybe!  this depends on the type of adjustment needed.  Ryan will always do his best to make it easy for you.  In many cases you can 'post' it to him for adjusting.


What kind of maintenance costs are needed for the ExoSym over time?

Pretty much zero.  I have had 2 adjustments since leaving the clinic but as I was travelling and in the area I went back in person and there was no extra charge.  I have heard of people posting theirs in for an adjustment and all they pay is the postage cost.  The common adjustment is the under the knee cuff - for me I needed it tightened twice as I had a 'bubble' of fluid on my leg (for 2 yrs) from the last surgery that has vanished after wearing the device! (wow)

 

How do I know it's going to work for me?

Ryan does a full evaluation to ensure you are a good candidate. Talk extensively to Ryan - I skyped him.  I also spoke to people who had the device for months/years.  Then when the test device is made and tested, you have a chance to decide then that if it may or may not work for you.


Has there been any club foot cases where it hasn't worked?

Yes, one to date that hasn't been as much of a success as others.  There was a reason for it that would be very very very uncommon normally.  99% of club foot cases have been a success.  Please discuss this with Ryan. 


Where can I stay in Gig Harbor?

As I was an international customer, I got the whole thing done in 2 full weeks, we therefore stayed at an AirBnB that I can highly recommend

: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/4371164

There are plenty of other hotels (one just down the road from the clinic, very convenient but pricey)



Here are some questions asked to clubbies that already have the device - diff answers shown by the initials of the person, from their own experiences.


Was there an adjustment period or was it like a duck to water when you first started wearing the device?

JJ - Minor conditioning, just getting used to 'wearing' something around your calf and ankle - but it was minor and went away after a week or so.  Otherwise I was just off - duck to water! - felt so so good.  Over the years as my mobility decreased I did alot of Yoga and swimming, I'm sure that helped me 'take off'.  My body is still changing and adjusting - getting a sore good foot as it's not used to so much activity!


How is it when walking on uneven/hilly/steep surfaces?


JJ - absolutely primo. I put that to the test on my very uneven Rocky hikes I've been doing on the Yosemite granite. It preformed magically. It holds you in place so well. I was passing able bodied people (going down!)


BB - II've been walking all over our farm on very uneven ground and no problems. No pain in doing it either. Amazing. Before I had to watch every step to guard my ankles.

JJ - Steep hills take practise as you cannot put your heel down. You walk on you toes.....with 2 that might be difficult. You get used to it and they teach you at the clinic how to walk in it by using your core.....v important.


BB - Steep hills are a bit tough and take strength. I use my tracking poles for balance and a little assistance. You have to dig in with your toes and knees. I have one bad knee so that doesn't help. Another problem is I have hyperactive knee joints so they tend to go back on me some at times and hard to recover on slopes.


DC - I am no where near climbing anything steeper than small inclines. I do tend to walk on my toes when going uphill. They did not "teach" that specifically, but they did stress using your core for stairs, etc.


BB - Jared (the PT at the clinic in Gig Harbor) had me climbing hills like a Billy goat!


LL -  Walking on hills takes some getting used to. Have to rock and use the tips, but is absolutely doable.


How about when you have to squat down while doing something - picking things up?

JJ - Squatting and picking up things - makes it easier. It does dig in a little to top back quad but minor discomfort. 

LL - I can't squat so don't know about that. I can pick things up, crawl walk backwards, no problem.


DC -  Squatting and picking things up is so much easier now! I love the fact that I can look up while walking, and not worry about uneven pavement. The world sure looks good from up here!



Crawling into the back of a van - anything other than straight-up forward motion? 


JJ - Crawling in back of van - I'm too old for that haha !!! Now that action is a bit tricky and inconvenient you kinda have to bum shuffle instead of crawl. As the top knee cuff gets in the way. I don't crawl much these days.


How about on sand? 


JJ - Sand - absolutely tear inducing miraculous ease walking on soft sand. Supported.easy. Unbelievable. Truly.


BB -  I was amazed walking in sand, I've never been able to walk on sand till now!


DC -  I walked on the beach this summer and almost cried!


LL -  Sand is fine and so so much easier.


On slick surfaces? 


JJ - Slick surfaces.....hmm not sure. I have walked on ice and fell a few times. It protected me. no injuries from falling.


BB - Everything Jennie hit on, not sure about snow and ice yet but soon to come in MI. A little worried as I've noticed water on tile giving me a bit of slip as your foot hits the floor in sort of a rocking motion instead of flat so doesn't seem to have the same control on slippery surfaces. No sensitivity either. Can't feel things underfoot as easy.


DC -  As for slick surfaces, we are in shoes, so it is the same as not wearing them. They are very lightweight and I do not ever know I am wearing them anymore


Where do you find them "inconvenient"?


JJ -  Inconvenient - wearing shoes and socks in the height of summer. Can't cross legs while sitting (shouldn't anyway so this is good!) The main thing is getting hot in summer. Not bad really huh!! 

DC -  I never find my IDEO inconvenient! I cannot believe how easy they are. I am able to walk on any surface..  I guess the only drawback for me is my lack of muscle strength form a lifetime of no excercise. I am working with a chiro and physio weekly to help strengthen my back. The upside is, it can be fixed, unlike my feet!!!  

BB -  Yes my legs and back are pretty weak, swimming, working out in the gym plus walking to hopefully strengthen them.

DC -  My back is not only weak, it is killing me! I could not walk more than a block without having to sit down. Now, after 3 months of working out, and physio I am able to go much further! Years of walking with these clubbies took their toll!    Please don't let this scare any of you away from getting or thinking of getting the IDEO! It i the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have absolutely no pain/swelling in my feet. Before the IDEO, I could not walk more than 10 feet without being in agony.

LL -  I do not find mine even a wee bit inconvenient because I can move with it in ways I cannot without. (I a bilateral but only have one IDEO at this point). You will need to develop your core, and hip and leg muscles differently but Jared will get you started. Helps to have a good PT at home as well.

General comments from LK in response to the above few questions:

I've read through all of the wonderful comments above and agree with 100% of what they've said. For me when I first put the device on it felt like I'd had it my whole life. That may be because of my age and it may be because my subtalar joint was fused as an infant so I had no adjustment period to having a rigid ankle (something I've noticed has been a small hurdle from some IDEO users but definitely goes away with time!). That doesn't mean I didn't have ANY adjustments. My back was a little achy for a few weeks now that my hips were more evenly aligned (a Chiro and massage helped me with that until I was fully adapted), my strength took several months to really get to a balanced and good place (now I'm stronger and faster than a lot of the "able-bodied" folks at my gym muuahaha), and my balance is still a working task almost a year later but I'm making soooo much progress. The team at Hanger are incredible and will go over any and every motion in the device to help normalize your gait and get the most out of the device and your time there. Developing your strength and also balance (which I know seems like a crazy thought!) bit by bit at your own pace will really help any of the items you've asked about above that may be difficult for you at first. They'll definitely show you the progression of building up strength with exercises to start with and exercises to "graduate" to. It will all get easier with time and that timeframe truly varies from person to person. Lisa L. is right about finding a good PT at home to keep making progress and to keep an eye out that the rest of your body is adapting to the changes in the right ways! It's almost like a shock to the system and to this day I ask my trainer if the muscles/areas on my body that are sore are supposed to be sore from whatever workouts we're doing that day to avoid injury. I've had mine just over a year now and have ZERO complaints. And yes I do post a lot of "rainbows and unicorns" everything is perfect posts about the IDEO... because it pretty much is... so to switch it up with a bit of "behind the scenes" here's my favorite photo from my first day at the clinic... hadn't had a real workout in a LOOOONG time and they put me through the ringer and I loved every second of it (still rainbows and unicorns but you wouldn't guess it from my face hahaha). Oh and my last 2 cents about the price... I started my journey to get mine fresh out of college degree #2 slapped with loans, with a car payment because my old beater car just died, working 2 part time jobs making crap money in an expensive city... and fundraised the entire cost and would've fundraised for 5 years if it took that long because it's worth every awkward moment to ask for help and it's worth every penny saved. Can't put a price tag on pain-free, limit-free, true LIVING.
3555 Erickson Street, gig Harbor, WA