Customer Review: Best purchase I've ever made!
I don’t know how I would have gotten around without this device! I had surgery to re-fuse my subtalar joint in my ankle and had to be non-weightbearing for 3-5 months. If you are completely non-weightbearing for any length of time, you’ll understand quickly how awkward and inconvenient it can be. You can’t carry things easily as you need both hands for the crutches, so doing even simple tasks like carrying copies out of a printer, getting clothes out of a closet to wear, or taking a mug of hot coffee across the room is impossible. Crutch bags or backpacks can really only go so far, and hopping on one leg so you have free hands isn’t a safe solution either and someone else isn’t always around to carry things for you.
After I found this device, I first consulted with my orthopedist and his physical therapist to see if it would be acceptable. They read all the information and agreed it was a very clever solution. They were excited to see that something like this had been developed! In fact, every time I visit my orthopedist’s or physical therapist’s offices, everyone excitedly wants to know where they could get one. This isn’t the type of thing I’d recommend that you try to fit yourself, although it is certainly possible if you carefully follow the directions and measure your leg carefully. I initially fit mine myself and then verified the fit with my PT to ensure my hips were level. I did make some adjustments over time to reduce pressure points, etc. The company also backed up the brace well and was very willing to answer questions. As I used mine far longer than most people, they even provided replacement parts for pieces that wore out (the tread on the bottom was one; they also sent me some extra pads and straps for no cost).
I honestly do not know how I’d have made it all that time without this brace. For longer distances, I also used the Vogager seated scooter the same company sells, which is also brilliant! I’d read up on knee scooters and had heard they can cause knee problems on your “good” leg, so I decided a seated scooter would be a better bet. I did replace their seat with a padded hornless seat, which made it much more comfortable, but between the brace and scooter my life was far more bearable. I also felt that the brace kept the muscles in my bad leg working some, at least in the thigh, so there was less atrophy when I finally put weight on th leg.
Don’t let the negative reviews here put you off. If you are unsure how to fit the brace or if it will work for you, consult your doctor or PT first. If you aren’t sure it will work with your cast, call the company and give them the measurements. I’m unfortunately logging yet another 3+ month period in this brace (and using the scooter) because we are redoing the fusion, but I am thanking my lucky stars I’ve got both of these devices to get me through yet again.
NOTE: I’ve logged a lot of time on crutches and other assistive devices in the past 20 years due to a serious ankle fracture from a car accident and numerous associated surgeries. I maintain a good weight, am fit and very flexible, but am older and developing some arthritis. I have looked at some of the other devices like the iWalkFree that have you balance on your knee, but therein lies the problem: I personally would not chance using that type of device. Having your full weight on your thigh (a VERY strong bone!) with seems far safer to me than trying to balance weight on your knee joint (more delicate and easily damaged). The Freedom Leg is also very stable given the wide base, so balance hasn’t been a problem for me. In reading the other reviews, it appears that some have not had good customer service with this company. That hasn’t been my experience at all over the years. It is a small business and seems leanly staffed as a result, so perhaps that causes problems sometimes. I’ve dealt with Joel Smith more than anyone else, but he has always followed through and really has gone above and beyond for me. I’d buy again from them in a heartbeat.