From a Wheelchair to Walking Independently

It was 9th February 2010 when I had my first stroke. I couldn't walk, talk or anything. My life was in turmoil. I had my second stroke three days later and I had to fight for my life - it was touch and go for 2 days!

Over the next few days, I slowly improved but I couldn't move my right side of my body. The hospital physio worked on my leg as a priority. First of all, I was in a wheelchair because I couldn't walk for a couple of weeks. Gradually, over time, with the help from the physio, my leg was strong enough to be able to stand.

The hospital told me that I've got drop foot, which basically means the dropping of my foot due to a muscle weakness from my 2 strokes. I'll have it for life.

The next 2 weeks, I worked on walking again. It was really slow to begin with, like a snail pace, but I did it. I was really chuffed with this. My right leg went out to the right every time, but it was a start. The physio gave me an ankle gadget to support my drop foot, and after almost 6 weeks in hospital I went home!

Matrix MaxThe next stage of my stroke recovery was I went to a place called The Prestbury Centre and for 6 months I did a lot of physio, especially my leg and foot. After about 4 months post stroke, the hospital gave me a Matrix Max, which helps my drop foot to put my foot in the correct position (image to the right).

I walked almost every day, just around the block, really slowly, but each week I was getting stronger and stronger.

I read The Stroke Association's magazine, and in there was an advert for a Functional Electrical Stimulation unit, which is an electric pulse to the foot to help with drop foot. I was intrigued!

WalkAideThe nearest place that does that was about 1 hour away and the company is called PhysioFunction. So, me and my Dad went to a meeting and there were 3 options to choose from. I chose the WalkAide because it's only 1 piece (just below the knee - see image to the left), whereas the other gadgets have at least 2 pieces - 1 just below the knee and 1 in the shoe. It was amazing!! For so long, i've been stumbling around, falling over because of my drop foot - but not anymore!

The WalkAide is basically a unit which sends electrical stimulus to the foot, to help correct my drop foot so I can walk more easily and with confidence. Instantly I was walking straighter and more quickly and I was just amazed.

Since then, I've not looked back. I can keep up with my friends and family now and, even though I still have a limp and can't run, it's changed my life for the better!!

This article by Chris Banting was posted in: Walking. Arm And Leg Gadgets. Stroke Recovery.

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