In 2001, François Côté, an avid and life-long athlete had a serious snowmobile accident which changed the course of his existence. Breaking both of his legs and knees, he suffered permanent damage in the form of left-sided “foot drop” or the inability to lift the front part of the foot upwards.
This condition causes the individual to drag the toes and front of the foot while walking. To compensate for this dragging, the person will bend the knee to lift the foot higher than in a normal stride (high steppage gait). Walking then requires a lot of effort and concentration and consequently becomes, over time, uncomfortable and exhausting, generating pain in the pelvis and back.
Drawing on his mechanical engineering background, François was determined to find a way to remain active and mobile. So, he hunkered down in his garage and made many prototypes (28 to be exact) before coming up with the current Turbomed design.
With the help of orthotist, Stéphane Savard, the Turbomed was perfected and put on the market in 2015.
Below, you will see how this uniquely external brace works. Made from a highly durable thermoplastic, this AFO (ankle-foot orthosis) attaches to the outside of a patient’s footwear.
This makes it easier for patients to walk and run on slopes, stairs, and uneven surfaces.
This brace is interchangeable and can be used on a variety of different shoes.
Many people with CMT have found this brace to be life-changing. For example, James Cuizon. world-class physically challenged triathlete has CMT. Before he got his TurboMed braces, he was breaking a pair of carbon fiber AFOs about every six months. He is now a TurboMed-sponsored athlete and says the braces, which he calls the best he has ever used, appear to be virtually indestructible. The company offers a two-year warranty and a 100 percent refund if returned within two months (www.turbomedorthotics.com).
When I last spoke with Stéphane about the Turbomeds a couple of months ago (great guy, by the way) , he told me that TurboMed’s Facebook Page was started by TurboMed wearers, called TurboMeders. Turbomed Foot Drop Club can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TurbomedFootDropClub/
Lastly, a TurboMed brace is about $900. Some insurances companies are covering them and according to TurboMed reps, the price is the same or similar to any carbon fiber AFO…and probably half the price of a custom-made plastic or carbon fiber AFO.
Available for kids and adults!