Aside from the standard requirements for establishing if you can use the iWALK2.0, below knee amputees also need to have a minimum of 4” (10cm) of residual limb. You also need to be able to tolerate weight on that shin. There may be other complications, but in our experience, most BKA’s adapt easily to the iWALK2.0.
Unfortunately, above knee amputees cannot use the iWALK2.0 without a prosthetic assistive device.
iWALK2.0 Before Amputation. Whether you’ve suffered a traumatic life-changing injury or have been dealing with excruciating pain requiring foot amputation surgery, the iWALK2.0 is a game changer!
Contemplating an imminent below knee amputation is traumatic. Concerns of loss of mobility, day-to-day lifestyle changes, loss of mobility, atrophy, and depression are well founded and haunt most pre-amputees. These concerns have been drastically reduced thanks to the iWALK2.0. Unlike with crutches or a wheelchair, using an iWALK2.0 pre-amputation demonstrates that a fully functional, independent lifestyle will be available after you’ve lost your limb, thus alleviating these concerns.
When preparing for a below knee amputation surgery, the iWALK2.0 can significantly improve the way you view your amputation. Unlike other mobility devices, the iWALK2.0 allows you to continue to function in your day to day activities, which is a huge reassurance just when you need it most. Here are a few more reasons below knee amputation surgery candidates are using the iWALK2.0 before their surgery:
Most people contemplating amputation are already in significant pain and have difficulty using the affected limb. This often requires extended use of crutches, knee scooters or other mobility devices. Life on crutches or a knee scooter is severely limiting – the most common things become excruciatingly difficult. This comes at a most inopportune time when you contemplate the psyche of the pre-amputee – is this what life will be like after the amputation?
Using iWALK2.0 instead of these lesser devices keeps the pre-amputee non-weight bearing, but in addition, it also allows you to maintain a fully functional, pain free lifestyle. It shows you that you can and will function well after a below knee amputation.
Imagine if there was a way to practice walking on a prosthetic before your amputation. Now there is! Technically speaking, the iWALK2.0 is an exo-skeletal temporary lower leg prosthetic, so using it before your surgery is going to help teach you how to walk with a prosthetic lower leg.
There’s no way around it – after your amputation you’re going to be immobilized for an extended period. Typically you’ll transition from bed, to wheelchair, to crutches. During this time your leg will experience muscle atrophy at the rate of 1 ½ to 2 percent per day! So you must take advantage of your pre-amputation opportunities to exercise and condition your affected limb. But how do you exercise a leg that causes pain with every step? By using the iWALK2.0 you can keep weight off your injured lower limb and continue to exercise the remainder of your leg. Problem solved. Going into your amputation well conditioned will make your transition infinitely easier.
Knowing that you can use the iWALK2.0 soon after your surgery gives you solace that you can go back to your day-to-day activities right away. It’s hands-free, so you can get yourself a cup of coffee, carry groceries, even go to the grocery store. No crutches, no wheelchair, no prosthesis? No problem! In a few seconds, you can strap on the iWALK2.0 and get moving again.
Knowing you are going to lose a foot is a tough thing to get used to. Knowing that you can get up and moving only a few weeks after surgery will help you get used to that idea. One below knee amputee stated, “The iWALK changed my outlook on life. It was so much better.” Below the knee amputee users have stated that frustration, anger, and depression both before and after amputation surgery was greatly reduced once they used the iWALK2.0.
While the iWALK is a great tool to use before you have below knee amputation, users have found equally positive effects by using the iWALK2.0 immediately following foot amputation surgery.
After below knee amputation surgery, your body has to get used to its residual limb. Prosthetics can’t be fitted well or worn until swelling has subsided, incisions have healed, and swelling of your residual limb has fully subsided. This can take months. How are you supposed to live a functional lifestyle during this period?
The iWALK2.0 gets you moving almost immediately after surgery. Depending on the type of closure, some patients are using their iWALK2.0 in less than two weeks after their surgery.
Below knee amputees state that using the iWALK2.0 immediately after surgery helps “fix the psychological issues associated with below knee amputation.” You’re no longer bedridden, confined to a wheelchair, crawling, or messing around with crutches. The iWALK2.0 restores mobility and helps you maintain a positive psychological outlook, which is critically important at this delicate time.
One of the biggest issues with post operative below knee amputations is muscle atrophy. If inactive, the average person’s muscles atrophy 1.5 to 2% per day! This is especially significant for below knee amputees, because eventually you will begin the process of adapting to a permanent prosthetic. This is hard enough, but when you factor in the effects of significant muscle loss, a difficult task becomes even more so. By using the iWALK2.0 post-amputation / pre-prosthetic you can maintain your muscle mass and be well conditioned and ready when the time comes to transition to a permanent prosthetic.
Prosthetics must be fitted and refitted. Your residual limb will shrink considerably in your first year, so your socket will constantly be fitted, refitted and replaced. It will take considerable time before you can tolerate your permanent prosthetic for extended periods during this adaptation phase, which means you’ll be back on crutches, often. What a tease! But if have an iWALK2.0, you will continue to enjoy hands free mobility AND continue to train your body to walk on a prosthetic leg. iWALK2.0 is a potent backup prosthetic and essential during this period.
Post-surgery iWALK2.0 users have found that by using the iWALK2.0 they maintain muscle and joint memory for walking, and they are able to keep their body in shape, enabling them to use the prosthesis with much less training.
iWALK2.0 is a game changer when it comes to transitioning from amputation surgery to full proficiency on a permanent prosthetic. Before iWALk2.0, the amputee could not walk for months, and was forced to learn to use a prosthetic when their leg was considerably weakened and their muscle memory had faded. With iWALK2.0 you maintain conditioning, muscle mass, and practice using a prosthetic ‘training wheel’ for the entire period leading up to permanent prosthetic use.
In reference to his patient Steve, a transitional iWALK user, Mark Miller, CPO, stated, “In my 27 years’ experience of fitting amputees, I have never seen a transtibial amputee do so well so quickly with their prosthesis.” See more of Steve’s story in our amputee testimonials.
Thanks to pre-conditioning on his iWALK 2.0, Steve completed a two mile charity walk on his first day using his prosthetic foot.
One of the primary issues faced by post-surgical below knee amputees is contracture. Contracture is the tightening of the soft tissue in the leg and can limit motion in the joint. It results in the inability to straighten the knee, and the hip may also become stiff.
Not a single below knee amputee that has shared their iWALK2.0 story has complained of contracture as a result of using the device. All of them have stated that, while they have used the iWALK2.0, they have maintained a consistent stretching routine, as prescribed by their doctor.
The iWALK2.0 isn’t just a transitional device for recovering below knee amputees. It is just as or even more useful as a back up to your permanent prosthetic.
The iWALK2.0 can be used anytime you don’t want to hassle with your prosthetic. Here’s what you need to know about the iWALK2.0
The iWALK2.0 is the only device that enables you to be hands-free. You can walk in comfort and with stability. No more worrying about stairs and lack of space with a wheelchair and the instability of crutches!
It’s a cinch to put on and take off – some say less than 5 seconds
Many iWALK2.0 below knee amputees use their iWALK to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. No more crawling!
In addition, after a long day of wearing your prosthetic, you are ready to take it off. Before iWALK2.0 amputees tended to hop, crawl, or crutch around their house after removing their prosthetic for the day. iWALK2.0 enables below knee amputees to easily walk around the house without worrying about putting their prosthetic back on.
One BKA explained, “With the iWALK it only took a few seconds to be back to normal.”
Sometimes you just can’t use your permanent prosthetic. Soreness in your residual limb, skin irritation, bruises and wounds can make wearing your permanent prosthetic too painful. Repairs and adjustment require you leaving your prosthetic in the shop for days. So how are you supposed to survive these periods? No problem – your iWALK2.0 is your backup prosthetic allowing you to maintain your functional lifestyle.
The iWALK is adjustable! Upper leg straps can be tightened or loosened depending on the width of your upper thigh. The lower leg straps are adjustable and can be fitted to your residual leg length. Click here for a tutorial video.
If your case is unusual, your prosthestist can make simple accommodations such as additional padding, thermoformed padding, etc. to custom tailor the iWALK 2.0 for rare cases.
Donning and doffing is faster for amputees than non-amputees, because without a foot, you can instantaneously slip right into the straps without unbuckling.
Gardening, going to the beach, mucking horse stalls (yes, it’s been done)? No problem! The iWALK2.0 is easy to clean. You can simply hose it off and let it dry. Many BKA’s use their iWALK2.0 in situations where they don’t want to damage their expensive, permanent prosthetic.
Tired of sitting in the shower? Is your shower too small for a shower chair? The iWALK2.0 is the prefect alternative. Some below knee amputees have a designated iWALK2.0 just for the shower! As with any slippery surface, caution should be exercised when using iWALK2.0 while showering.
Some below knee amputees say that eventually their leg tires of the prosthetic. The iWALK2.0 places pressure on different areas of the leg, so it gives those tired muscles and joints a break.
Just need a break?
Don’t want to hassle with your sleeve and prosthetic or just want to give your skin a break? The iWALK2.0 is the perfect alternative. And it’s hands-free, so you’re able to move about unencumbered.
Many BKA’s like to modify their iWALK2.0 by shortening the Knee Platform so that it is only slightly longer than their residual limb. If you want to make this modification, make sure you do it right!
In the diagram below, the red lines show the four locations where you can cut the Knee Platform. Insert sheet metal or wood screws where indicated in green.
Are you a BKA using the iWALK? Submit your own testimonial below. Please note – we cannot publish testimonials without photos, so please include a photo or video of you using your iWALK crutch with your submission.