Brad Hunter led the redesign of the original iWALK handsfree crutch which helps people who have lower leg issues. The improved iWALK 2.0 went on to secure a first place honour in Medica Expo’s i-NOVO Awards.
Mr Hunter says that the top four reasons that people need crutches to keep them mobile are:
- Shin bone fractures
- Lower leg amputations, often as a result of diabetes
- Ankle and foot fractures
- Achilles tendon ruptures
Notably, the number of people needing crutches because they’ve had a diabetes-related lower leg amputation is increasing. Diabetes UK says that there were 26,378 diabetes-related lower leg amputations in the UK between 2014 and 2017, 19.4% more than in the 2010 to 2013 period.
In North Somerset – where Peglegs is based – the picture is worse. According to recently released North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group figures there were 31% more diabetes-related lower leg amputations during the 2014 to 2017 period compared to the previous period.
Many people who have had a diabetes-related lower leg amputation have found the iWALK 2.0 hands-free crutch has helped them, either on a temporary basis or as a permanent alternative to a prosthetic limb for people who are unable to use such limbs.
The iWALK 2.0 hands-free crutch is better than conventional crutches because its hands-free design means that you can still use your arms. With conventional crutches even a relatively simple task such as carrying a mug of tea from your kitchen into your living room would be difficult, but with the iWALK 2.0 this is no longer a problem. You can even walk your dog, or hold your children or grandchildren.
But importantly, Mr Hunter says that as well as giving you increased mobility and freedom, there are medical reasons why hands-free crutches are better for you.
First, conventional crutches don’t just affect your hands and shoulders while you’re using them. Your upper leg and hip muscles can atrophy by as much as 2% a day while on crutches. You don’t experience this level of muscle loss with the iWALK 2.0.
Second, using conventional crutches restricts the blood flow to your lower extremities. Diabetes often leads to damaged blood vessels as a result of high blood sugar levels so anything that restricts your blood flow is bad news. Using the iWALK 2.0 rather than conventional crutches helps with this.
You can find out more about how the iWALK 2.0 hands-free crutch helps lower leg amputees here.