WHAT THE HECK IS AN EXOSYM?
The carbon-fiber ExoSym braces consist of a plate customized to the shape of the foot and two struts leading up the back of the calf, connecting to a support holster below the knee. As you step down, the brace redirects weight and energy away from the joints and stores it in the carbon fiber, kind of like a spring. When you push off, the energy shoots back up the struts, helping you to walk, run, or jump. Since 2009, the device has allowed hundreds of people to regain the use of their legs while avoiding amputation and chronic pain. -Chas McCarty “The Story of My Leg”
This device is not just any leg- brace that your doctor could fit you for; in fact many medical advisors have probably never heard of this prosthetic-orthotic hybrid before! In my own words, The ExoSym is a custom-made, sophisticated (and comfortable!) piece of technology that provides you with the tools to increase mobility, reduce pain & discomfort, to ultimately give you a better quality of life– upon the condition that you put in the time & energy it will take to see results. I never imagined I would be wearing a brace again, but I’m so happy that I am.
As I am only beginning to understand this device and all of its glorious potential for my own body, I hesitate to say that an ExoSym is right for everyone with cerebral palsy. It’s not for everyone, that I am certain of. I would go as far as to say that the ExoSym might work well for those who are already independently mobile and would like to work hard to improve lower extremity function with the goal being: to live a more active, painfree lifestyle. Like any individual no matter their circumstance, we all have manifested CP differently– in our own environment and at our own pace. Some of you might prefer surgery to orthotics, and some of you may hate the idea of putting on a brace again. And maybe you’ve never thought that you could run again with how hard walking has become, or you don’t really care to be athletic but you just want to get around better! Whether you strive to be the athlete and warrior your body won’t let you be, or you need to be on your feet all day for work or school, in any case… it never hurts to do your research.
Take a peek at these exciting resources to get you started:
Begin your research from its main source, Hanger Clinic (*this device is only offered at the specialty clinic in Gig Harbor, WA in the United States)
You may notice that the device is structured around serving those with severe, debilitating injuries, rather than disabilities but nonetheless, I encourage you to learn more and decide if this sounds like something suited to your needs.
Navigate this inspiring blog to hear from a myriad of empowering individuals who have the device as a result of severe injuries, near amputations, and other conditions.
“After receiving the ExoSym, I felt like I had been given a second chance and I decided I wanted to pay it forward. So at the beginning of 2015, I decided to start a fashion & inspirational blog for women who wear the device so that I could help them see that fashion is still possible and to remind them of the beauty in their strength and all that they’ve overcome.” -Beth Shaver, blog founder extraordinaire
Read about a young man with spina bifida who was the first civilian with a congenital condition/disability to have received the device in 2013.
“After about 20 minutes, I suddenly burst out laughing. “Holy fuck!” I exclaimed. I asked Ryan if I could try the treadmill for the first run of my life. My legs flailed sloppily behind me, and my torso was weak at the sides, swaying in all directions — but I was running, grinning stupidly, before I fell over winded, breathing harder than I ever had.” -Chas McCarty