Testimonials & Video
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 Ease Forward Ankle Rocker. 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.
Irene Walks free of pain after 42 years
My name is Irene, I sustained a severe compound fracture to my right leg in 1975. My femur, tibia and fibula were broken in three places and at one stage the surgeon thought that they may have to amputate. Eventually after the surgical repair my leg was 2cm shorter.
It really changed my life for the worse. I suffered back and neck pain and I had a sever limp. I could never walk any great distance and I had to wear a heel raise in all my shoes. Eventually this led to me having to have my right knee replaced. While this helped realign my knee it exacerbated my foot issues and I eventually sustained fractures of the small bones of the foot.
My foot surgeon recommended that I see Mr David Hallowell at the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic to try out a rocker orthotic. I initially attended for an assessment and Mr Hallowell let me try out a sample rocker which while not comfortable certainly helped me walk. David explained that a custom rocker would be much more comfortable, and he took a cast of my foot. The rocker was issued two weeks later.
I can honestly say that the rocker has changed my life. I now have no pain and I also walk without a limp and can honestly say I don’t know where I would be without my rocker. I am so grateful to David and his team.
Thank you Irene
Hill walker with a painful foot after ankle injury
In 2019 I fell and injured my ankle while walking in the Mourne mountains with a walking group. With the help of friends, I managed to get to casualty. I was told that it was a severe sprain and that it would be fine after a few weeks. My ankle was strapped up and I was given a crutch and pain killers. My ankle was very swollen but after a few weeks it started to improve. However, as I regained my mobility, I noticed that my foot was becoming painful. The pain radiated up the through the arch and I felt like my foot was being pulled apart. I went to see my chiropodist and she advised me to contact the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic as they specialised in this sort of problem. I made an appointment and was seen by David Hallowell the owner. He assessed my ankle and explained what the problem was, he also explained that I needed a set of custom orthoses. I was a bit sceptical as some of my walking friends had been given orthoses in the past and had not been happy with them. David explained that this is often the case with badly fitting orthoses and assured me that mine would fit properly. He took casts of my feet, and I had my supports fitted a week or two later. The devices felt strange to begin with but within a few days I started to experience less pain in my foot. I was able to walk greater distances and my foot wasn’t painful when I got up from resting. I am happy to say that my supports are working really well and that I have even returned to hill walking.
I would thoroughly recommend anyone with foot pain to contact David and his team.
Thanks you so much Liz
Foot and Ankle Clinic – Liz had a classic ankle limitation which is very common after a severe sprain or fracture. Although the ankle itself may be pain free there is enormous strain on the foot to compensate for the lost ankle movement. This often causes the foot to flatten and in some cases over time the foot can completely collapse. We made a Liz a standard orthotic to prevent the foot flattening and to protect and stabilize the joints of her foot and that is usually all it takes to prevent further deterioration and restore proper function.
Thomas Avoids Amputation with a little help from the Foot and Ankle Clinic
I had my ankle crushed by a hydraulic ram in an accident at work about four years ago. The surgeons washed out the wound and inserted plates and screws to fix the bones together. After that I was in a lot of pain. I then had 2 ankle fusion operations to try and stop the pain. I also had pain killing injections, but nothing seemed to work. I had pain every day. As soon as I got out of bed. On a scale of 1-10 in the morning it was a 5 and it got worse during the day to a 9-10 in the evenings. I was only able to stand for an hour at a time before I had to rest on the sofa. The pain was just destroying my life, I was moody and angry all the time. My mobility was poor, and I had to go through pain just to make a cup of tea. I couldn’t go to watch football because of the walking and standing. The operations to fuse my ankle just seemed to make the pain worse. Then my back and my good leg started to get soar. All my weight was going through my good leg and it started to deteriorate. I went to see Mr McMullan an Orthopaedic trauma specialist. He suggested that I contact the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle Clinic as they had developed a rocker device which might help me. I made an appointment to see David Hallowell the Podiatrist. During my consultation David let me try a sample rocker, which immediately seemed to help. I had a cast taken of my foot and a custom fitted rocker was made.
The change has been unbelievable, I can walk now for longer and be on my feet for longer. My pain is 80% improved and this has had big effect on my life. I really wish I had heard about the Northern Ireland Foot and Ankle clinic 4 years ago. Before I got the rocker, I was considering having my foot amputated, but the rocker has delayed or maybe even prevented this.
Thank you, Thomas
Foot & Ankle Clinic-It’s always very rewarding when one of our patients experiences a successful outcome like this, but particularly in a case like Thomas’s. He was in such severe pain, it was obvious he was desperate to get relief and was prepared to have his foot amputated if necessary. When you have a reduction in ankle movement either through trauma, surgical fusion or even arthritis it sets up a lot of stress in the lower limb. This stress can be in the foot the ankle or may even transfer up to the knee hips and lower back. The rocker is designed to create movement by mimicking the ankle joints motion. By doing this it greatly reduces strain on the whole of the lower limb. We’ve been using the rocker for several years and we now have several patients who were considering amputation but have managed to avoid it using the device. Since we originally designed the rocker we have continued to refine it and make improvements to allow it to be used in a greater number of cases. I’d like to thank Thomas for allowing us to share his story.
Letter From A Patient With A Severe Ankle Injury
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 create 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
Patient With 30 Years of Pain Due To An Ankle Injury
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
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.
Referral From A Podiatrist in Dublin
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
The videos above show the extent of Andrew dysfunction and the results gained from use of the rocker device
Lady With A Chronic Ankle Injury
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.
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
A patient injured in an IED explosion
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
This video shows a patient who stood 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
Patient with a Charcot rocker bottom foot injury
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 the 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 through 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 Clinic” 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 an 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 the 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 feel 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.
Patient with Arthritic ankle
My name is Norman and I am 55years old, I have been suffering from 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 subtalar joints, meaning that my right foot is fixed at a right angle and does not have movement except in the midfoot 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 off 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!