Hands On – A Physiotherapist’s Review of the iWALK3.0
My name is Tom Stukins. I am a senior, specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist with 22 years’ experience in treating all manner of injuries, rehabilitating post-operative orthopaedic procedures and helping patients manage a whole range of physical conditions. What follows is my review of the iWALK3.0 from a professional perspective, as well as a personal one.
Like many of my clients I lead a very active lifestyle, cycling to and from work daily, regularly playing tennis and using the gym to keep strong so when I ruptured my Achilles playing squash I was faced with a whole new reality.
Once the rupture was confirmed it meant that I was unable to put any weight through my foot and that I would be dependent on crutches to get around for up to 8 weeks. As anyone that has had to use crutches before will tell you, the novelty wears off VERY quickly! The simplest of tasks like going up and down stairs, making a cup of tea or carrying your dinner to the table, getting your clothes out of the wardrobe, shopping, opening and closing doors suddenly becomes a logistical nightmare requiring military levels of planning and balancing skills to rival the Cirque Du Soleil!
Thankfully over the course of my career I have come across various mobility aides that I have recommended and been made aware of that provide assistance to people in their daily life. That is when I thought of the iWALK knee crutch. As soon as I received the iWALK from UK Knee Crutches, I felt a renewed sense of freedom that I had feared would be lost until I could begin fully weight bearing once more.
The iWALK 3.0 arrives needing a bit of assembly but is easy enough with clear instructional videos available. It is worth taking the time to set the leg of the iWALK 3.0 as accurately as possible to ensure an even leg length whist you are on your feet. It is also well worth taking the time to set the straps up as comfortably as you can as this will make a huge difference in your tolerance to the iWALK and will make walking around a lot more relaxing.
Initially it takes some courage to get going on the iWALK so it may be worth using either one or both crutches whist you get used to how it feels and gain your confidence gradually. But once you ‘find your feet’ you’ll be free to resume many of the daily activities that you would struggle with on crutches.
The huge advantage of the iWALK 3.0 is that it allows you to walk around with both hands free. Using the iWALK, I have been able to get out to the supermarket, cinema, visit friends and I am fully expecting it to allow me to return to work sooner than would otherwise be able to do so (albeit in a slightly more limited way to normal).
One challenge I did encounter is that the boot I am wearing has an inflation valve at the front which needed to be protected whilst using the iWalk 3.0. This was relatively easy to overcome. I simply used a small pad of upholstery foam to create a space for the valve to sit in whilst in use. It took a bit of getting used to but after a day or so I familiarised myself with it and then my ‘new’ normality resumed.
Having ruptured my Achilles I’ve now seen and felt the effects of injury from a different perspective. I’ve been given first-hand experience of just how much a severe injury can impact your life. For anyone with a foot or ankle injury requiring a prolonged period on crutches, I would HIGHLY recommend the iWALK3.0 from kneecrutches.co.uk and if you’d like to hear and see a bit more about my experience, watch my video review at the top of this page.