17 Sep Mom Ruptures Achilles, Still Walks 10,000 Steps Per Day
Innovative crutch alternative enables Dandre Muller to keep walking despite being told by doctors that she’d be off her feet for months.
A mom who couldn’t walk for more than three months has revealed how she managed to parent her active three-year-old twins with the help of a hi-tech peg-leg crutch.
Dandre Muller, 31, was competing in a netball tournament when she heard a loud ‘clap’ and dropped to the floor. She later realised the noise was actually her Achilles tendon rupturing – a painful injury when the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone tears.
After surgery to repair the damage, Dandre was told she’d need to spend 12 weeks on crutches and wearing a boot, and that it could take up to a year to heal. Overwhelmed, and in agony, she had no idea how she’d manage.
Dandre, who is from Johannesburg, South Africa, and currently lives in Perpignan, France, says: “The pain before and after surgery was a level 10. I remember crying and being so frustrated. I had my three-year-old twins Nicolaas and Elane to look after and my husband is a professional rugby player, so he’s away most weekends. We have no family nearby to help us out.”
Dandre adds: “The timing for me couldn’t have been worse. It happened a month after we moved into our new house where the kitchen is on the second floor. It was also a week before we were due to leave for our four-week annual holiday to South Africa.”
Dandre used traditional crutches for the first week which made her feel even more frustrated. She says: “I couldn’t use my hands to carry things. I kept on losing my balance which caused me to fall again and hurt my elbow. I couldn’t hold my children’s hands in public places where there were cars around which made me stress so much more. By this time, I knew we’d have to cancel our holiday because how would we be able to travel for 18 hours with six suitcases and twins?”
Finding an alternative to crutches
But then Dandre’s husband did some online research and came across the iWALK crutch, an innovative new hands-free crutch. The device is an alternative to traditional underarm crutches for people with lower leg injuries. First invited by a Canadian farmer who broke his foot but needed to keep working, it is now an award-winning, Class 1 medical device that is sold in 30 countries.
After watching a video of a woman wearing it and doing the exact things Dandre wished she could do, they ordered one. Within a couple of days, Dandre got her freedom back. She says: “This hands-free crutch gave me the ability to be a parent to my twins again. I could walk, climb stairs and carry things – including my kids. I was walking 10,000 steps a day throughout my recovery and didn’t even put on any weight. It was a total game-changer.”
Dandre’s injury happened on 18 May while she was competing in Toulouse. She was seen by a medical professional on court who advised her to go to hospital for an MRI scan. This revealed the extent of the injury and she had surgery five days later.
Dandre says: “Three months was such a long time for me not to be able to walk. I kept on thinking of how I wouldn’t be able to take my groceries upstairs, do the washing, vacuum the house, dress my kids or how we might have to cancel our holiday. Another concern was not being able to exercise which was a big mental frustration. After the birth of my twins and being in my 30s, keeping weight down takes twice as much work as it used to.”
But with the hands-free crutch the family even managed to go on holiday. Dandre says: “I had so much fun – just as much as if I hadn’t been injured. I didn’t have to sit out any activities and I did target shooting, golf, danced at a birthday party, took the kids to watch rugby. I even got to go into the ocean wearing my iWALK crutch once my scar had healed.”
Staying positive during recovery
Dandre had thought she would need to hire help around the house but she didn’t need to as she was able to care for the twins and do chores. She also started walking again quicker than expected and puts this down to the iWALK crutch helping her to recover faster.
She said: “Long recovery periods after an injury can cause so much frustration, and even depression, because you can’t do anything you used to do. The iWALK crutch gave me the opportunity to stay positive and motivated and had a huge impact on my mental state.”
The iWALK crutch has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world to stay mobile after a lower leg injury, including elite athletes who need to keep active during recovery.
Brad Hunter, President of iWALKFree, Inc, says: “Parenting twins is hard enough without a ruptured Achilles thrown into the mix! We’re delighted that the iWALK crutch helped Dandre during her recovery and enabled the family to get on with, and enjoy, their summer.”