Recently Finding Your Feet hooked me up with a handsfree crutch donated by a former user via Steven Latham, at KneeCrutches.co.uk; the iwalk 2.0. I had seen this device being used by amputees before on social media, so when the chance was there to be donated one personally, I knew that this could be a great tool to have.
The device itself could be perceived as a wee bit clunky and heavy on first appearances. There wasn’t much interest from others on the Finding Your Feet page, and I think perhaps this was down to independence being mostly perceived as having the least amount of mobility aids, rather than another new one to add to the collection, however this has its own set of uses and positives that no other type has yet been able to provide.
The iWALK 2.0 certainly takes a little bit of investment in terms of time and patience. There are a number of walkthrough videos to get through, showing you how to fit the advice to your own body, and how to build up to being able to use it safely, and effectively.
Personally, the biggest benefit of the iWALK 2.0 has been in the kitchen! As any user of crutches will be aware of, crutches and kitchen don’t really go well together. Cooking is kinda out of the window, unless you’re ok with hopping, or using a stool; neither of which I find to be a sustainable activity. There’s also the clear obstacle of having no hands free when you want to carry something. In these instances, where my prosthetic is out of action for me, I’ve previously chosen to go without a drink or snack, because I’m just not willing to deal with the pain of moving about.
In addition to this, it has provided me the opportunity to have a secondary device in times where I want to be in or around water! This is the ideal aid to be used in short term scenarios where you may be getting your lower half wet, some examples of mine being when I want to get my toes wet with the dog at the beach, without rusting my main prosthetic, or use an aid intermittently at the swimming pool.
These are the two main instances where the iWALK 2.0 has been a game changer for me; of course, I’m sure you can imagine there are plenty more instances where having your hands free while also having a lower leg support is a fantastic benefit.
In summary, the iWALK is nothing short of a game changer in terms of a mobility aid. The main market for the iWALK is for those who have incurred a short term lower leg injury, such as a broken ankle; so repurposing these to lower limb amputees is a fantastic initiative! While adding another mobility aid to your collection may seem a little backwards in terms of increasing independence and mobility, this is the reality of what I’ve experienced so far. If given the opportunity, and you find you are in similar circumstances to me, with occasionally needing an alternative to your prosthetic, while also keeping hands free, I highly recommend getting in touch with kneecrutches.co.uk!
A wee disclaimer: I was born with congenital deformities to my right leg. This includes having a significantly shorter femur (upper leg) on my prosthetic side. This meant that the standard fitting for the iWALK 2.0 was slightly off for me; it’s built for standard human dimensions, not my wildcard dimensions! With this being the case, Steven and I had to troubleshoot to counter this; the result being using a chunky bit of foam! Any lower leg amputee without a shortened upper leg should have no issue whatsoever with fitting the iWALK, and won’t need this extra padding. Over this period of brainstorming I can’t thank Steven enough for his proactive nature and enthusiasm to find a solution to my unusual anatomy!