To start the process of getting an ExoSym:
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
ExoSym Program Administrator
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:
Jennie Jackson facebook
The Adaptive Yogi on facebook
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!
$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 - therefore 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). Update from clinic Feb 2019 - CURRENTLY THERE ARE ONLY A COUPLE OF INSURANCES COVERING THE DEVICE. NATIONWIDE, IT’S ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY PRIVATE PAY.
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 posted my in from NZ for an adjustment and it was perfect when it returned - Ryan is a genius! 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). If major repair work is needed, there may be a cost, which is why communication with Ryan is key. There is a cost associated with replacement supplies including wedges, Zensah sleeves and arch supports.
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
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!)
JJ - Steep hills take practice 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.
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"?