Tony was coaching his child’s soccer team when he experienced a stroke at the age of 41. “The stroke caused me to fall down and I was having trouble getting back up. I knew something was wrong and I was scared.” Tony was like many of us. He knew that strokes happened but thought they occurred in older people. “At least people older than me,” Tony replied with a small laugh.
Tony’s stroke was caused by a thrombus, or a blood clot in the brain. To manage the initial medical issues caused by the stroke, Tony spent 41 days in the hospital followed by inpatient rehabilitation for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Upon returning home, he continued his treatment with home health therapy and outpatient therapy (which continued on and off for approximately five years). During this time, Tony made tremendous progress. He relearned to walk, improved the clarity of his speech, and was even able to begin working again performing lawncare services. Despite an improved ability to walk, Tony described persistent issues with weakness in his right leg, especially his ankle, causing him to rely on the usage of an AFO (ankle foot orthosis) for walking.
We had the pleasure of meeting Tony in 2018. At this point, he was approximately 11 years post-stroke. What immediately stood out to his physical therapist was his motivation. His physical therapist recalls, “Tony was very knowledgeable on stroke rehabilitation. He had worked with rehabilitation products in the past to assist with his arm function, was frequently researching clinical trials that he might be a good fit for, and he was also exploring tools to continue to improve his walking. Tony did not want to give up.”
Tony began treatment on the iStride device™ in October of 2018. When asked his first impression of the device, Tony replied with a laugh “I definitely thought it looked unusual, but I was willing to give it a try.” During his first session with the iStride device™, Tony initially need a little bit of help to stand up and walk while wearing the device. However, by the end of the first session, he was able to walk in the device with only occasional contact from his physical therapist. “It surprised me how quickly I felt confident in the device,” Tony recalls. By his 3rd visit, Tony was already beginning to sense improvement and confidently stated “I can tell this device works.” Tony reported beginning to feel muscles working in his right leg (especially in his lower leg and calf) that he had not felt “in a very long while.” His motivation helped him power through the 12 visits of the clinical trial with relative ease. When asked if he needed a break during his treatment, Tony almost always replied, “Nope I’m good ☺.”
Towards the end of the clinical trial, Tony noticed he could hold his right leg up when donning the iStride device™ and that he was able to walk faster. He also noticed items on the balance tests (which his physical therapist performed periodically to assess for improvement) became easier. In particular, he was able to step over objects with improved ease and stability, balance on one foot for longer amounts of time, and even walk a straight line (one of the most challenging items on the test). Tony also reported improvement in one of his greatest difficulties while performing lawncare services, walking downhill. “That is always the hardest for me when I’m working, but I’ve noticed I can do that a lot easier now.”
At his 1 year follow-up appointment this week, Tony reported a very exciting milestone. He surprised his physical therapist when he stated,
“I haven’t worn my AFO in about 4 months. I decided to give walking a try without and I don’t need it anymore.”
Tony attributes this progress to an improved ability to swing his leg through while walking and increased movement in his ankle joint since using the device. After 11 years, this new development is very exciting!
Tony’s scores on his physical therapist’s gait and balance tests reflect the substantial improvements that he has noticed. Since using the iStride device™, Tony’s gait speed has improved 43% and his balance (measured using three validated fall prediction assessments) improved considerably placing him in the category of ‘low risk for falls’ on all three measures.
Tony’s dedication to recovery has truly paid off and has been an inspiration to us all at Moterum Technologies. We are so proud of your accomplishments, positive attitude, and your drive for improvement! Keep up the GREAT work, Tony!
And THANK YOU for letting us be a part of your journey!!