How iWALK2.0 Can Help Before and After Below Knee Amputation
Alina’s life was forever changed when she leaped for safety from the 4th floor of her burning apartment building. The jump—a last resort needed to escape fiery peril—left Alina with a permanently damaged leg that would eventually require amputation.
Months before her amputation, however, Alina grew tired of the challenges presented by crutches and knee scooters. Continually being forced to resort to crawling and “butt-scooting” for any activity that required use of her hands seemed like a ridiculous, undignified limitation, so she sought an alternative. This is when she discovered the iWALK2.0.
Alina first discovered the iWALK2.0 through Christina Stephens, an amputee and YouTube personality who gladly shares her stories and successes with the iWALK2.0.
For Alina, discovering the iWALK2.0 was a game changer. At this point, she was a just few months away from lower leg amputation and she was already dreading the return to crutches, scooters, or resorting to the dreaded crawling and “butt scooting”.. Instead, the iWALK2.0 offered her a chance to walk freely prior to using a prosthetic leg.
Today, post-amputation, Alina still uses her iWALK2.0 daily and considers it a life-long friend. When Alina contacted us regarding her experience with the iWALK2.0, we knew we had to share her story.
From the initial tragedy, to getting her first prosthetic, here is Alina’s story in her own words.
In August 2012, my life changed forever. I went from being an average 22-year-old woman to being a 22-year-old woman with two broken feet, a broken back, and no belongings. At 10 PM on a Monday night, an arsonist—angry at my apartment building’s management—came to my building and poured gasoline down the hallway of each floor. The fire blocked the hallway and left me no choice but to jump from my 4th story window to the concrete below. I lost everything I owned, shattered my feet, broke my back, and bruised my butt.
In January 2016, after three years of constant surgery, I opted to amputate my increasingly damaged lower left leg and start over. I thought, why bother with a falling apart leg when I could have a robot leg?
Through YouTube I met Christina Stephens (the fabulous AmputeeOT), and she introduced me to the iWALK2.0. I had to ask myself, why didn’t I find out about this years ago?! Prior to my lower leg amputation, I had undergone eight surgeries. Several of those surgeries meant no weight bearing on my leg for many months at a time, leaving me to walk around on crutches like a savage. With my amputation and my prosthetic leg still several months away, the iWALK2.0 looked like a miracle.
Thankfully, I received my iWALK2.0 two months before the amputation, which gave me time to practice and get a feel for prosthetics. I’ll admit, at first I was a little wimpy about trying it out. I stood around in it but worried I wasn’t doing it right. I found a local medical supply shop that sold the iWALK2.0 and, for a small fee, I was able to have my crutch fitted by a professional who was educated on the product. What an enormous difference! The iWALK2.0 felt like part of my leg. Initially the peg-leg thing is weird, but it quickly became very natural.
Fast forward to my surgery: A below knee amputation. My surgeon preferred to put a cast on my new stump instead of a soft bandage, so I ended up casted to the top of my thigh for 14 agonizing days. No knee flexion meant not being able to use the iWALK2.0. I started on the walker and then went back to my ancient technology: crutches. After a below knee amputation, you need to do your best to prevent knee contracture, so I was cautious when transitioning from crutches. I was initially hesitant to keep my knee bent on the iWALK2.0, but after a couple of days using it intermittently it was clear my knee was fine as long as I did lots of good ol’ stretching.
The iWALK2.0 quickly became my lifeline. Having experienced so many lower leg surgeries and either struggling on crutches or wedging a knee scooter through doors made me appreciative of how much those options just flat-out suck. It has been three months since my amputation and, because of struggles with socket fit and wound healing, I’ve been delayed in getting my prosthesis. Thanks to my hands-free crutch, I can still have an actual life while in recovery. I am able to live as an independent person. I take my wiener dogs out to pee (down a giant flight of concrete stairs!), host parties, stand around waiting for a table at local breweries, everything. I even wear my iWALK2.0 to the gym! On crutches or a scooter, I honestly felt like I’d have fallen off into a deep depression by now.
I was just casted for a new socket and will shortly have my new check socket in hand. Even after I have that available, I will still need to take breaks from my prosthetic leg. Potential blisters, rashes, and all sorts of skin-related bummers are in my future. It is incredibly reassuring to know I won’t have to lose independence during those times. I can even slip my leg in and out of the straps without taking them off, which makes nighttime peeing a breeze! Instead of hopping and putting strain on my good knee, I can just put on my iWALK2.0 in a hurry.
Though I wish I would have discovered it earlier, the iWALK2.0 has been an integral part of my rehabilitation. Thank you, iWALK2.0!
No, thank you, Alina! As you can see, iWALK2.0 can greatly help prior to any below knee amputation, during the post op care, and even offer continual support whenever a prosthetic leg cannot be used.