Lance Matthews, a fifth generation farmer from Ontario, Canada, had no idea he was about to revolutionize the world of crutches. It was a day like any other, and Matthews was mending the barn roof on the family farm. He slipped on a loose patch, and the next thing he knew, Matthews was falling from the roof. The resultant fall left him with a badly broken foot. Not having any alternatives, his physician prescribed crutches. In addition to the injury, Matthews was now unable to do his day to day activities without outside assistance. For Matthews, this simply wasn’t good enough. “There has to be a better way”, he thought. “What am I doing with these two sticks?” Matthews recalls, “They are tremendously impractical, uncomfortable, and ridiculous.” After researching the market, he was amazed to find that there actually wasn’t a better way. So he invented one.
The doctors and orthopaedic technologists at Toronto’s Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, one of the leading orthopaedic research facilities in North America, were so impressed that they understood an immediate trial of the device should ensue, and recommended patent protection. With manufacturing advice from a colleague, Matthews embarked on a new phase of development.
Early prototype work was refined with the assistance of a variety of professional advisors, all of whom shared in a determination to offer crutch and cane users a dramatic improvement in their personal mobility.
In a letter dated July 30, 1999, the Canadian Minister of Health indicated that iWALKFree was a Class 1 medical device and that its design “appears innovative … and will provide an important treatment option for victims of land mines and others for which [sic] a hands free crutch is appropriate.”
The product has received a Medical Device Establishment Licence (769) from Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Programme and is now CE marked as a Class 1 Device throughout the European Union
Take a look at the full story on the manufacturer’s website here (http://www NULL.iwalk-free NULL.com/history NULL.html)