Please note, that I am not a medical professional, just a kiwi, 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.
Also, I DO NOT get any commission on this - I am just so passionate about spreading the word and helping others as it's changed my life!
(and it was much easier to have everything in one place for enquiries when a story is run!)
ABOUT THE EXOSYM
In my words!:
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.
Hanger Clinic Overview YouTube Vid
My custom made ExoSym hanging at Gig Harbour.........
Oh the places we go! Hiking in Yosemite
Short video clip of me walking with and without the device - WOW!!
Some inspiring videos -