The patients listed below have all been treated with either orthotic supports or with one of our many braces and splints, a few have used our new Ease Forward Rocker which is unique in this field of medicine as it is one of the few devices which is designed to create movement rather than restrict it. Many of these patients had tried devices from other clinics without success, sometimes incurring considerable expense in the process. All of the devices issued have been made at our own in-house manufacture facility by one of our highly skilled craftsmen. At the Northern Ireland Foot and ankle Clinic we are committed to excellence and we continue to strive to improve our service on a daily basis. Where possible video footage of the patient has been placed below the testimonial.
My name is Jill, I started having foot problems when I was in my teens. I had multiple surgical procedures in an attempt to fix my foot. The result of these operations lead to my foot becoming more and more fused. Over the last 40 years the pain steadily got worse. I am now 60 and recently I went to my surgeon and said that I could stand the pain no longer. I reluctantly requested that I have a below knee amputation. It was the only way I could see that I would be out of pain. My surgeon reluctantly agreed that he would carry out the procedure if I would agree to try one last conservative method of treatment. He referred me to see David Hallowell at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic.
I somewhat sceptically agreed to go and made an appointment. David showed me the rocker device he had designed and told me how it functions. I tried a sample rocker and the effect was almost immediate my pain was reduced and my walking became more fluent. I had a custom device fitted a few weeks later and the difference it has made has been amazing. I’m not completely pain free but the rocker has greatly reduced the pain and allowed me to have much greater mobility. At this point in time I am happy to say I am no longer considering amputation.
Foot and Ankle Clinic – This is one of those cases that proves the real value of the rocker system. The rocker is designed to create movement where the normal movement has been compromised either by surgical fusion or by arthritis or trauma.
My foot pain started in 2014. Although it was sore, I was busy so I neglected to get it attended to. However, after a shopping trip in December 2014 I found that I could no longer put my foot to the ground. The pain brought tears to my eyes. I went to see my Doctor and I was sent for various blood tests and x-rays. I eventually was sent to Orthopaedics in Whiteabbey Hospital. They arranged for me to have an MRI scan. During these appointments and tests my foot was gradually getting worse. Working in the Ulster University, it was taking me 20 minutes to hobble along the mall a journey which before my foot pain took me 3 minutes.
Someone told me about the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic in Glengormley, so I decided to make an appointment with David Hallowell the Podiatrist. David watched me walk and carried out an examination. He then explained that the problem was the flattening of my feet. He took impressions of my feet and had their technician make me a pair of custom orthotic foot supports. The relief was unimaginable, I am now back walking and my feet are steadily gaining strength again. Before getting my supports, I found it impossible to stand on my tip toes, I can now stand and walk on tip toes. The orthotic supports have allowed me to live a normal life once again. I will be forever grateful to Mr Hallowell at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic for his expertise which has allowed me to walk pain free.
Foot & Ankle Clinic- This is a classic example of why you should never ignore foot or ankle pain. Many of the problems associated with foot and ankle dysfunction are progressive and may steadily worsen if not treated early. As the joints and muscles of the foot degenerate mobility is lost and the patient often reports weight gain and even depression because of the effect on their lifestyle. Gaining weight further overloads an already stressed and painful foot which then degenerates further. This can eventually lead to the patient needing an operation to repair tendons or in severe cases the joints of the foot may need to be fused. By treating these conditions early, and by using our handmade bespoke designed supports we can greatly improve the chances of a positive outcome. – Thank you, Anna, for allowing to publish your testimonial.
My pain and weakness started about 6 years ago. I had constant weakness and spasticity in my left foot. This was accompanied by severe pain in my left hip and lumbar spine. The effects were very detrimental to my life. My working life was completely destroyed and my social life became almost impossible. I went from being an outdoors person and keen gardener and hill walker to being virtually house bound and isolated. I was constantly making trips to the GP with no success. I got anti inflammatories which made know improvement and then they immobilised my leg which made matters worse. I was told by a Podiatrist in Bangor about the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic who design and manufacture custom braces and supports. I phoned the clinic and made an appointment to see David Hallowell the owner and lead Podiatrist. David went through my options in great detail and explained what he thought was the best way forward. He then took casts for left foot and ankle brace and a standard orthotic support for my right foot. I had these fitted about 2 weeks later.
I almost immediately started to feel improved balance and stability and I found that I was able to walk a reasonable distance again without the terrible fatigue that I had previously suffered. Since then my confidence has grown and I have been able to gain some of my old life back. Yesterday I spent 5 hours with friends at a beach clean followed by tea, cake and a trip to the pub for drinks. Before I got my brace, this would have been completely out of the question.
I’d like to say thank you to David and all the staff at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic for giving me my life back again.
Foot & Ankle Clinic – This is the type of results we’ve been getting with the new ankle brace. It’s a very simple design which uses rivets at the ankle to allow articulation. The wearer has the option of using an adjustable bungee cord to create as much lift at the ankle joint as they need. The bungee mimics the effect of the normal muscle function which is compromised in patients with drop foot. In Judith’s case we didn’t need to use it as she is able to lift her foot but in cases of severe muscle weakness it has proved to be invaluable at giving the patient a much more normal walking pattern than a fixed type brace. It’s also easily covered by your trouser leg so can be very discreetly worn.
Over the past 10 years we have seen an increase in the number of patients who have attended various clinics sometimes at great expense and who complain that their orthotic supports do not fit properly or that they don’t feel that their foot is being properly supported. The reason for this is that their are many more company’s supplying lower quality devices which do not fully utilize a cast of the foot but which are marketed as custom fitted. The problem can be further compounded when these pseudo custom devises are not successful in reducing the patients symptoms, as the patient can very often be referred to a surgeon for possible surgical intervention. This ultimately puts patients through a surgical procedure which may well have been avoided had the patient been given higher quality supports to begin with. If you are in this situation our advice is to always seek a second opinion on the quality and fit of your supports.
My trouble started back in January 2014 with what began as a slight pain in my left foot. Thinking it was something minor I ignored it for a few weeks until it progressively got worse. I went to see my local GP and was given a course of tablets. Unfortunately this did not help. An X-ray was suggested and this proved to be a slow process. So to speed things up I decided to get the X-ray performed at the Ulster Independent Clinic. Within a week I had my X-ray and had seen an orthopaedic consultant who identified the problem. He told me that the arches of my feet were flattening and this was stressing the muscles in and around my foot. I was then referred to the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic. On my first consultation Mr Hallowell confirmed the diagnosis and advised me of the course of action he felt was necessary. He then proceeded to take imprints of my feet. He also explained how they make all their custom foot supports in their own workshop and that this would mean that if any modifications were needed to the insoles could be carried out quickly. I returned after a week to have them fitted and the change in my life is unbelievable. It did take a few days to become accustomed to my new insoles but I can honestly say that within 10 days I was completely pain free. I can strongly recommend the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic to anyone with any type of foot problem.
Foot and Ankle Clinic – Elizabeth is a classic case of over flattening of the medial arch. If this flattening is allowed to continue untreated the foot pain can over time become extremely debilitating and can really affect your quality of life. It is essential that it be treated as early as possible and with the correct type of orthotic. Many patients will buy an off the shelf orthotic which can potentially make the foot worse.
My foot pain started about 10 years ago with pain on the ball of my foot. The longer I stood and the further I walked the worse it got. The pain in my foot meant that I was constantly buying different types of shoes in an attempt to relieve the pain. This become frustrating and expensive as nothing seemed to solve the problem! A friend suggested that I try off the shelf orthotics as I have a high arched foot. This did help initially but then gradually the problem got worse again. The pain then started spreading into my heels. A podiatrist told me about the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic and that they make their own custom orthotics. I booked an appointment with David Hallowell the Podiatrist at the clinic. David explained what was wrong and outlined the treatment. He took casts for a set of custom orthoses which he said would be an exact fit to the shape of my feet. About 10 days later I got my new supports. The result was fantastic! Within two days I was pain free for the first time in over 10 years and I was able to go for long walks without pain.
I cannot recommend David and the team at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic enough!Many people think that it’s only flat feet that need support, but the high arch foot can be equally painful for different reasons. Rogers’s foot was a classic high arch foot which was becoming stressed through his midfoot. With this type of foot it is essential that the orthotic fits exactly through the arch area. Off the shelf devices and many modern “Pseudo custom” foot supports don’t do this and that’s why a great many don’t work.
In June 2015 I was knocked of my bicycle by a tractor. I sustained severe injuries throughout my whole body including fractured femurs one of which was fractured in 6 places. I also sustained fractures to my right foot and ankle. I spent 17 weeks in hospital after which I attended for regular intense physiotherapy. As well as physiotherapy I was also regularly taking strong painkillers.My mobility was greatly reduced as it was painful to walk and I had to use crutches to support myself when walking.
My Physiotherapist told me about the Foot and Ankle Clinic in Glengormley which had developed a rocker insole which was especially designed for people with painful or injured ankles. I made an appointment and went along to see if they could help.The Podiatrist David examined me and gave me the background to how the rocker had been developed. He also let me try a sample device which immediately reduced my pain and allowed me to walk more easily. He took casts of my feet and about two weeks later my rocker was issued.The difference has been amazing! The first thing was the pain was greatly reduced, for the first time since my accident I could a walk without crutches. My mobility has been greatly improved and this has gone a long way towards giving me back some quality of life. I told David that out of a score of ten I’d give the rocker eleven.“We are always delighted when a patient gets a result like this. We spend a lot of time developing these devices and it really makes all the effort worthwhile when we see patients like Tony doing so well. It’s also a testament to the Tony’s determination to regain his mobility. I’ve always found that unless the patient is motivated the whole treatment process becomes very difficult”.
In my late twenty’s I was doing a job where I was on my feet a lot. I started to develop pain on the outside of my ankles my right ankle being particularly severe. The pain got much worse on walking which greatly reduced my mobility. The pain was getting me down and although I don’t like taking painkillers I felt I had no choice.
I got orthotic arch supports and these helped a little but the pain persisted. I was sent to a clinic to have a special ankle brace made but this not only cost a lot of money but it also made the pain much worse. I looked online and read the information on the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinics website. I decided that I needed to have second opinion on the brace I was wearing and so I made an appointment to see David Hallowell the Podiatrist. He immediately was able to show what was wrong with the brace I was wearing and said that it was actually exacerbating my ankle problem. He gave me some exercises and arranged to have some new orthotics made.
I got the new orthotics and had to break them in over a period of about three weeks. I am now wearing them full time and my pain has steadily reduced. My mobility has improved and my osteopath feels that I am walking much better. I am very glad I attended the Foot and Ankle Clinic and I am especially glad not to be wearing the brace which gave me so much pain.
In 1995 I began to have severe pain in my feet and legs. I had been to Musgrave Park Hospital for an operation which was not a success. I found it very difficult to walk and the pain in my ankles was getting worse. I went to the NHS Podiatry to get insoles but these did nothing to alleviate the pain.
Someone told me about the Foot and Ankle Clinic in Glengormley and I made an appointment. The Podiatrist explained that my feet and arches were completely collapsed and that they would have to make me a special pair of custom supports. He took casts of my feet and sent them off to their workshop.
The supports were very successful I simply cannot walk without them. I am so glad that I went to the Foot and Ankle Clinic they have helped me immensely.
When Mary first came to us I explained how difficult her feet would be to treat effectively. She was very determined to avoid having surgery on her feet or ankles. She has also been extremely patient as the devices she wears are difficult to make and sometimes have to have several modifications to optimise their function. We are delighted to have been able to keep her mobile over this past 21 years.
I have suffered from foot and knee pain since childhood. I remember visiting my local GP aged 7 with foot pain and being x-rayed in my early teens due to knee pain and swelling. I love music but would dread attending concerts as I knew my feet and knees would ache due to standing. It was the same with travel; I’d book a holiday and then worry about pain due to increased walking and standing. I spend all day standing at work and after a long day I would often soak my feet in cold water to decrease the burning pain and ice my knees due to swelling.
Two months ago David made me insoles. The first thing I noticed was that they fitted perfectly. I was told to wear them for short periods to get used to them, but in all honestly, they fitted so well that I forgot I was wearing them and wore them all day.
I have been very impressed with my insoles and have noticed positive changes. The quality and speed of my walking has improved, I have decreased shin splits when walking fast or running and I no longer destroy the shape of my shoes due to flat feet. Further and most significantly, for the first time in twenty plus years, I have no foot or knee pain with extended periods of standing or walking.
I am delighted with the outcome and couldn’t be happier with my insoles. David was extremely knowledgeable and professional and I would highly recommend his service.
Just a brief but sincere note to express my gratitude for the pain relief achieved following the use of your newly designed rocker foot orthotic.Many years ago I injured my ankle severely, an MRI scan revealed significant damage to the ligaments which stabilize my ankle joint. As a result of this damage my ankle became restricted in movement and painful.
The rocker which was designed by David Hallowell at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic has reduced the stress on my ankle by carrying out the natural function without the need for me to force the foot and ankle into a position that causes pain. The improvement in my walking and general quality of life has been significant to say the least.
I trust that many others will find pain relief as I have done.
Wishing you continued success and sincere thanks
“This is typical of the type of feedback we get from patients using the new rocker devices. Many of these patients have previously been issued with various types of orthotic supports and braces with limited success. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly many supports and braces do not fit properly and therefore do not give adequate support. This has become more common since the reduction in NHS budgets. Sadly some of these patients end up on orthopaedic waiting lists for operations which they may not need. The second reason is that arch supports and braces are designed to reduce movement in the joints of the foot and ankle and this can exacerbate rather than improve the problem. The rocker is designed to give back movement and therefore reduce strain in the whole of the lower limb by mimicking the natural movement of the foot and ankle. In the video below John can be heard to describe the effect the rocker has had on his ankle and on his quality of life”.
In 1982 I broke my ankle in a footballing accident. The surgeon at the time said it was one of the worst accidents he had seen in sport. After the accident the bones got infected so it took a long time to heal. From then on I was in pain every day. When walking it felt like someone was sticking a knife into the side of my ankle. Then my ankle would swell and I would be completely unable to walk. I had to plan everything that I was doing so that I didn’t have to walk much. The furthest I could walk was about half a mile and after that I would have to sit with my foot up for hours.
The pain was constantly there and when it was severe I couldn’t even stand or walk at all. I would lie with my ankle up to relieve the swelling and no matter what tablets I took they made very little difference.I saw an advertisement for The Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic in a local paper. It described how the owner David Hallowell had developed a special insole that rocked in your shoe for patients with injured ankles. I contacted the clinic and made an appointment for a consultation. David explained how the device worked and took a cast of my foot. About a week later I was given my rocker insole.
The rocker has been very successful and the pain reduced significantly within a few days. I was also able to walk further than I had in over 30 years. I am now able to walk 2 miles without any pain and without having to put my foot up afterwards. If I’d tried this without the rocker I’d have been unable to walk the next day. I’ve started to do activities that I thought I’d never be able to do, like go for a walk in the evening or play with my grandchildren. The rocker really has been life changing.
Thank you for your help Dessie
David says – This is a classic case of a restricted joint which was constantly creating pain. The rocker mimics the movement of the ankle joint and therefore reduces the stress caused by trying to force the ankle to move. The feedback from patients like Dessie has been very encouraging and is invaluable as we try to get the rocker accepted by the mainstream orthopaedic community.
In 2014 I started getting pain in my ankle. It was tender to touch and would get progressively worse during each day. It began to have a real impact on my day to day activities.
I am on my feet all day at work and each day it would begin to get more and more painful as the day went on. Outside of work I was unable to go for walks especially up hills, I couldn’t run or play football. My GP referred to an NHS Podiatrist who I saw me three times. The insoles they gave me had absolutely no affect at all.
I noticed the sign for the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic while driving through Glengormley and I decided to check out their website. I was pleased when I read the testimonials of the patients they had treated and I rang to make an appointment. I had a consultation with David Hallowell the Podiatrist and he very clearly explained that the source of my problems was that my ankles were not moving correctly. He let me try one of the new rocker insoles that he had developed for patients with injured ankles. I immediately felt that I could walk better and he ordered one for me.
After using the rocker for four weeks my walking has improved greatly and the pain in my foot and ankle has gone. My walking action is much improved, my days in work are more comfortable and as a result I get more done. My quality of life outside work has also been greatly improved.
I have received the most professional and courteous care I could imagine and I am very thankful and grateful to David and the staff at The Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic for their help.
David says – “Working with motivated patients like Stanley is a real pleasure especially when we see the improvements that pain free walking has on their overall quality of life. We have issued the rocker to so many patients now and the results have been beyond all our expectations”.
Roger’s Foot Pain
My foot pain started about 10 years ago, with pain on the ball of my foot. The longer I stood and the further I walked the worse it got. The pain in my foot meant that I was constantly buying different types of shoes in an attempt to relieve the pain. This become frustrating and expensive as nothing seemed to solve the problem! A friend suggested that I try off the shelf orthotics as I have a high arched foot. This did help initially but then gradually the problem got worse again. The pain then started spreading into my heels. A podiatrist told me about the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic and that they make their own custom orthotics. I booked an appointment with David Hallowell the Podiatrist at the clinic. David explained what was wrong and outlined the treatment. He took casts for a set of custom orthoses which he said would be an exact fit to the shape of my feet. About 10 days later I got my new supports.
The result was fantastic! Within two days I was pain free for the first time in over 10 years and I was able to go for long walks without pain. I cannot recommend David and the team at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic enough!
David Says “Many people think that it’s only flat feet that need support, but the high arch foot can be equally painful for different reasons. Rogers’s foot was a classic high arch foot which was becoming stressed through his mid-foot. With this type of foot it is essential that the orthotic fits exactly through the arch area. Off the shelf devices and many modern “Pseudo custom” foot supports don’t do this and that’s why a great many don’t work.”
I can highly recommend Glengormley Foot care as my family have attended for many years. When my daughter was fourteen and doing her Duke of Edinburgh bronze expedition she complained about severe knee pain which made hill walking very difficult. Someone suggested it might be worth having a chat with David which we did. David made personalised orthotics for my daughter and within two weeks the knee pain was resolved. Many years later she has scaled Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Caruntahill to name but a few and has never had any more problems with her knee. Four years ago I had a painful foot condition which was immediately corrected by orthotics made in Glengormley Footcare. Other members of my family have had toe nail removals and have been impressed with the immediate and after care received. If you are having any difficulty with foot, knee, hip or back pain it is certainly worth having a chat with David.
L.McB from Newtownabbey
After months of suffering from ankle and tendon pain I was finally referred by my consultant orthopaedic surgeon (he diagnosed tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction, to me this just meant pain) to Mr Hallowell of Glengormley Foot Care. Mr Hallowell made and fitted me with a Ankle Brace, after wearing this for a few days the pain was very much relieved and still continues to improve.
Before being fitted with the brace I was semi house bound, something I had not intended being as I had just recently retired, I now lead an active life with no pain and hope to do without the brace for at least some of the time later on.
I would recommend Glengormley Foot Care to anyone with foot or ankle pain.
This video shows a patient who was injured by standing on an IED while in Afghanistan. He was told by his orthopaedic specialist that he would have the mobility of a below knee amputee. He was issued with our unique ankle rocker brace. He began running and after a period of 4 months completed the Belfast Marathon
Letter from Patient
In May 2010, whilst serving in the Upper Gereshk Valley, I trod on an IED; the resulting partial detonation shattered my calcaneus into nine pieces. Subsequent surgery achieved unity of the bone, but left uneven surfaces that caused degenerative arthritis. Physiotherapy helped me to recover and to learn to walk again, but initial surgical prognoses suggested that I would never be able to run again due to the complexity of the damage in the subtalar joint.
I was referred to a podiatrist, Mr David Hallowell, by my physiotherapist in a bid to initiate further progress in my rehabilitation. Although initially sceptical, I engaged with him and was given a set of orthotic insoles that made a significant difference to my daily level of comfort. Mr Hallowell continued to re-evaluate my progress and adjust my treatment as necessary; I felt that I was being listened to and that it was a receptive and interactive process. The real difference was when he developed a rocker insole that was coupled with a leg-brace; this design gave me the confidence to run that I had not had since my injury occurred. The result was that I was able to complete the Belfast Marathon in a time of 3:57, a feat that I had been told was permanently beyond me.
Throughout the whole of my treatment for this debilitating injury, I can identify my treatment at the hands of Mr Hallowell as the single point of success; it feels like everything else was merely supporting this process which has given me the best chance of replicating my pre-injury existence.
Thank you for making a difference
Almost 50 years ago I injured my ankle in a sports accident. For many years it was uncomfortable but bearable. Over the past ten to fifteen years it became more and more painful to the point where I could hardly walk without severe pain. It was even soar in bed and would keep me awake at nights. I was sent to an orthopaedic specialist who said that my ankle was so badly damaged and arthritic that he would have to carry out an ankle replacement. After the ankle replacement I continued to have severe pain in my ankle and foot. I had been to see a Podiatrist and had arch supports made but these made no difference. I was sent to be fitted with a full ankle brace which would stop my ankle bending. I wasn’t too keen on wearing one of these and I asked my Podiatrist about alternatives. He referred me to the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic in Glengormley which he knew had just developed a rocker support which fits into your shoe. David Hallowell the Podiatrist let me try a sample of the rocker and I immediately felt some improvement. He took a cast of my foot so that a custom rocker could be made. About a week later I collected my rocker. I can’t believe the difference it has made. I no longer limp and the pain around my ankle has now gone. I pop the rocker into whatever shoe I am wearing and it just helps me walk. I can honestly say that this little device has given me a new lease of life.
Thank you for all your help
My name is Norman and I am 55years old, I have been suffering with arthritis of the feet and ankles since my mid thirties. As a result of this condition I have undergone a number of surgical procedures with the end result being arthrodesis of the right ankle and subtalor joints, meaning that my right foot is fixed at a right angle and does not have movement except in the mid foot area.
As a result of this I require a rocker insole to be fitted into my right shoe; this is to assist forward movement when walking. During the last few years I have found it more difficult to walk with some sort of normality.
In April this year (2014) I read an article on the Northern Ireland Foot & Ankle Clinic based in Glengormley. The article related to a rocker insole which fits inside the shoe, and is made to measure. I contacted the clinic and made an appointment. During the consultation I discovered that when walking I was unconsciously forcing myself forward when stepping through on my right foot. A mould was taken of my right foot.
A week later my rocker insole was ready, it was inserted into my shoe, it took a few days to get used to it but once I did it became comfortable to walk again. The rocker insole assisted with the stepping through when I was walking taking the pressure off my lower back, right hip and knees. I certainly won’t be running marathons anytime soon but as for everyday use but this little piece of assistance provided by the Northern Ireland Foot & Ankle Clinic is invaluable; it really makes life a lot easier and a lot more comfortable!
My name is Isabelle, I broke my ankle in February 2006 when I missed the last step on the stairs and as a result in the words of the Hospital Consultant “it was a nasty break” I required an operation involving the insertion of a plate and screws through both sides of my leg and my ankle as well as screws through the base of my foot.
From that I have always had pain and swelling in my ankle even though I had several physiotherapy sessions. I have tried all types of orthopaedic insoles on the market with little or no improvement. I also had a limp which I was conscious of. Then in February of this year I saw an article in our local “In Touch” magazine. I read about the Northern Ireland Foot & Ankle Clinic in Glengormley who had developed a special insole which helps people with ankle injuries. I made an appointment to see Mr Hallowell who assessed my ankle and gave me a sample rocker insole to try out. I immediately felt I was walking normally for the first time in 8 years.
Mr Hallowell then took a cast of my foot to have a rocker made to suit me. I got the rocker insole about a week later and I have been using it since March this year. It has made an amazing difference to my walking and has greatly reduced my pain. On a recent holiday I was able to walk further than at any time in the last 8 years and was completely pain free.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has foot or ankle problems you will not be disappointed.
David says “It was clear from watching Isabelle walk that her ankle movement was very limited and that the limitation was causing her severe pain. These chronic ankle injuries are relatively common and they follow a familiar progressive pattern from an initial injury to chronic foot and ankle pain. Some of the patients I see have had surgery and some are trying to avoid having an operation. The limited movement of the ankle puts stress on all the surrounding joints so that often the patient attends the clinic with foot or knee pain rather than ankle pain. The rocker is designed to reduce this stress by re-establishing/mimicking the normal ankle movement. Happily since we started making it the feedback has been very positive. We are currently trying to find what other conditions it may be useful for. My hope is that we can get the device accepted into the mainstream of orthopaedic devices so that it can be offered to patients after surgery. Currently many patients are given rocker bottom shoes which can be bulky and are not always user friendly”
My husband Billy fell while walking in the 2005. He had x-rays taken and these showed he had damaged a bone in his right ankle. This left him in severe pain and he was unable to walk any distance.
As time went on he was getting worse. His ankle now had arthritis setting in and he was now not mobile other than to walk to the kitchen to look out at the garden. He had to use a Zimmer frame and would wince with pain every time he stood up to walk. Most of his time had to be spent just sitting in the house as it was too sore to go out.
A paper was delivered through our door which had an article about a new clinic in Glengormley, The Northern Ireland Foot & Ankle Clinic. They had a special ankle brace which was developed by David Hallowell the owner. I phoned the clinic and asked if Mr Hallowell would call to our home as my husband would be unable to walk from the car to the clinic.
Mr Hallowell called and examined Billy and then took a cast of his foot and ankle so he could make a support.
“Billy had a severely arthritic ankle which was causing his foot to progressively collapse, his age and general health prohibited him from having corrective surgery. In cases like these it is essential to get the foot supported to prevent further degradation of the joint ASAP”
I am delighted to say that within minutes of putting the ankle brace on Billy experienced a reduction in pain, he no longer winces when he stands up and it has helped Billys mobility greatly. On Mr Hallowells next visit Billy was able to walk without his Zimmer. He now, despite having a stroke on his right side is once more walking without his Zimmer and just using a walking stick. The pain in his foot and ankle is much better and he is able to walk up stairs which he had not been able to do for a long time.
I must say I am very glad I made the phone call to the clinic and I am very grateful to Mr Hallowell for all his help.
“We had to make Billy a custom device which controlled his foot and cushioned it as he had quite a degree of inflammation all around his ankle and foot which meant that the device had to correct his foot gently while at the same time giving very strong support. I am really delighted for Billy as when we first met he was almost confined to a chair for most of the day. I am also very grateful that he has allowed us to publish this testimonial”.
My brother Andrew, who is now 38 years old had a very serious accident in 2007 when he was propelled from a ladder and landed on both his feet from a great height and broke nearly every bone in both ankles and Tib and Fib. As you can see from his X-ray he had extensive surgery on both legs over several days and they managed to save both feet and eventually he learnt to walk again.
All was good up until about six months ago when he developed an ulcer on one ankle and is finding the pain and stiffness harder to deal with.
He had x rays taken last week which showed severe degenerative changes in both ankles and is awaiting an MRI scan and an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.
I feel at this stage there is very little an orthopaedic surgeon can do for him particularly with his poor circulation and considering his age we are concerned what the future holds for him.
I was very interested in all you said about the rocker device and feel that Andrew could benefit greatly from it. Do you treat patients from the South or do you only treat patient’s referrals from the North?
As you can imagine we are all very concerned about him and I would appreciate any advice you could give us.
Thank you for seeing my brother so quickly. The rockers you provided have proved invaluable. He is experiencing greatly reduced pain in both ankles and is able to walk for much greater distances. He particularly likes being able to walk with a normal heel strike as he was very self-conscious about walking on his toes. I will keep in touch regarding any further developments. Thanks again for all your help and good luck developing the rocker.
Yours in appreciation
I had Spina Bifida as a child and had seven operations over a long period of years. I took it for granted that following my last operation at 40 years of age my feet and legs were as good as they were going to be. But to my dismay a few years ago my ankles got weaker, my left one in particular. I was referred to a physiotherapist who admitted that he could not help me and he recommended to my Doctor that I be referred to an orthopaedic consultant. It’s nearly three years now since I went to see the Consultant about my ankle.
He gave me three options:
(1) do nothing
(2) have a brace fitted to my leg
(3) have a bone fusion.
Option 1 was not an option as my ankle was just getting worse but I felt option 3 was my last resort so I opted for option 2. He explained that this would give me a good idea of what a fusion’ would be like. The consultant also had me have a gait analysis done and as a result of this it was recommended that I should not have a bone fusion as I still had some strength in my ankle. I was fitted with an AFO which is a hard plastic brace that covered most of my leg up to my knee leaving a gap at the front. I wore this brace and a subsequent one for about two and half years. I had several problems with it but the main one was that my leg was completely immobilised within the brace. As a result of this total immobilisation my lower leg just got thinner and thinner. My walking began to take on a rocking motion which in turn gave me back and hip pain. One day, purely by chance, whilst I was at my chiropodist I was saying to her how I felt this brace was not helping me but that I had no other choice, she was able to tell me of a podiatrist she knew who made braces with a hinge at the ankle!! Well I couldn’t believe it. I remembered how the recommendation came back to the orthopaedic consultant following my gait analysis that my ankle should not be fused. I also remembered how the consultant told me that this brace would give me a good idea of what a fusion would be like. Surely I should not be wearing something which fixed my ankle so rigidly? Needless to say I got an appointment with David Hallowell at the Footcare Clinic and he showed me the types of brace he made. I was so excited at the prospect of having a brace that allowed me to flex my foot. When it was ready I went to the clinic and when he put it on and asked me to stand my leg just gave way at the knee. It was then that I realised just how weak the other brace had allowed my leg to become!! However, I then walked a short distance across the room and I can only describe the feeling as being ‘liberated’. I was walking in a normal fashion for the first time in nearly three years. It was the little things I noticed: being able to sit with both of my feet on the ground instead of one on the ground and the other in a raised from the heel position; being able to walk down the stairs one after the other instead of one at a time; being able to flex my foot on to the clutch when driving my car. I have had some problem with my knee and I am working on building up the strength again in that area but I have to say I still wouldn’t swop my new brace for anything. I feel it has
given me a new lease of life.
Thank you very much Doreen
To David Hallowell
As a Teaching School Principal I work in an organisation where I need to be active and on my feet for most of the day. My lifestyle outside the workplace is an active one build around my love of sport. In 2011 through training and running for a marathon I developed foot and ankle pain which turned out to be the onset of a fallen arch and eventually a mid-foot drop. After visiting a consultant he was reluctant to offer surgery as an option and preferred to manage the injury though the use of Orthotics which caused a lack of flexibility with the foot and ankle when walking. I felt deterioration in my condition and could see no improvement after a year’s use. I felt restricted in carrying out many of my daily practices and became very conscious of a limp that I was developing. In searching the internet for a solution to my concern I read about the work of Mr David Hallowell at “Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Care” and his work in the development of an ankle rocker brace. After meeting with him I felt confident that he could address my concerns and after evaluation he made and fitted me with a personalised orthotic rocker brace. It was moulded around my injury and fitted very comfortably so much so that within a few weeks it relieved much of the pain giving me a sense of flexibility within my foot. I would say it put the “spring” back into my footstep. The aftercare that David gave was very reassuring and I believe that he sees each patient’s injury as a goal to improve their quality of their life. David follows up his work and ensures that if adjustments need to made, to your treatment then they are carried out. Through the flexibility and comfort of the personalised orthotic much of the restriction I was experiencing was reduced, I find that I can walk further distances and I certainly don’t have that sense of limping, more importantly I felt more confident in my movements. I would thoroughly recommend that if you are experiencing foot or ankle pain that you visit and speak with David. I think you may find a solution to your concerns.
Many Thanks Joe
About three years ago I started getting a lot of pain in my right foot, it may have been going on longer but by that time it was significant enough to for me to notice. It was my sister who pointed out the problem when we were out walking and I had to stop on several occasions because of the pain. She said I was flat footed. Coincidently I saw an advert for a Podiatry clinic in Belfast and a few days later and I made an appointment. I was told I needed an orthotic and that they would gradually increase the strength of the support until my arch was as normal as they could get it. So I began about a year and a half of numerous orthoics which initially helped but caused a lot of pain to wear. Most of the time my ankle was swollen and I was still in considerable pain.
Having realised that my treatment was not effective and was costing me a lot of money I was recommended to a Podiatrist at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic by a friend. Even though I was unsure about going somewhere else and spending more money, in desperation I made an appointment with David Hallowell the Podiatrist at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic.
After an examination, which showed that I had badly fallen arch on my right foot an impression was taken of my feet and sent to a laboratory to have a custom orthotic manufactured which David who owns the laboratory assured me would fit my foot properly and correct it effectively. When the orthotics were issued they fitted and supported my feet exactly where they needed it.
I can’t say that I like wearing them but I am now happily pain free and the swelling in my ankles has disappeared. If I had only got the right treatment when I first sought help I would have saved quite a bit of money and would have been pain free sooner.
David says- “Jenifer had a particularly flat foot which not only causes pain in the foot itself but often affects the ankle joint. It was what we call a progressive injury meaning that the joints of the foot were continuing to degenerate and the prognosis in the long term was poor. This type of flat foot if not treated properly can result in the patient needing surgery at a later stage”.