MANSFIELD, Ont. (CP) - A new device that will make life
easier for people who have a broken foot or sprained ankle was
unveiled Monday by its Canadian inventor.
In these types of injuries, weight must be kept off the
lower leg, below the knee, while broken feet and ankles
repair. Until Monday, crutches were the only method available
for getting around.
Lance Matthews, who lives on a farm near Mansfield, about
100 kilometres north of Toronto, invented what he's calling
the iWALKFree crutch a few years back, after falling from his
barn and breaking a leg.
After three days on crutches the 43-year-old organic farmer
couldn't take it any more. He went down to his workshop and
put together the forerunner of iWALKFree - a vertical cedar
strut with a shelf on it, held up by a leg.
He put his knee on the shelf and walked away.
Mission accomplished - and done in only 25 minutes.
"Like I mean, I was better with a couple of pieces of
Velcro and cedar, he said."
Matthews, who describes himself as "just naturally
mechanical, said the first one was so good, it allowed him to
travel all over North America, including the Grand Canyon,
The device allowed him to bear his weight through the
flexed knee, resulting in no weight being placed on his ankle,
tibia or foot - exactly what the doctor ordered, and no
His doctors and others at Sunnybrook were so impressed that
they initiated a clinical trial on the device.
Today's device, which sells for $349, is almost identical
to the wooden one made in his basement, except it's not made
"It's totally, completely going to change the world for
non-weight-bearing, lower-leg injuries," he said.
Among other things, the new device will give new hope to
people whose lower leg has been amputated. © The Canadian Press, 2000