Paul Wilson suffered a rugby injury at the age of 18 that badly dislocated his left knee, leaving him with a condition known as drop foot. In Paul’s case the drop foot was caused as a result of damage to the Peroneal Nerve during the original dislocation of the knee and the effects of the drop foot are permanent.
Paul, currently a manager at Harlequins Foundation, the charitable arm of Harlequins FC, used an NHS splint for 2 years until his parents came across an advert in the Daily Telegraph for Dorset Orthopaedic. After looking on the website, Paul visited the southern-based clinic in Ringwood where he met in-house Orthotist, Kim Pickering. Kim quickly recognised the symptoms of drop foot and prescribed Paul a SAFO Classic (Silicone Ankle Foot Orthosis), which he wore for a while and helped to lift his foot when walking.
Due to Paul’s sporty lifestyle, he found after a while that he needed something a little more dynamic and approached Kim about the new SAFO Sport, which is designed slightly differently to give the wearer more lift and support around the foot and ankle. Since taking delivery of his SAFO Sport Paul has completed triathlons, the London Marathon, plays cricket, and continues to play rugby. He has also taken up boxing, with a view to compete in charity events. The discreet design also means that under trousers no one would ever know he is wearing an orthotic brace.
“My SAFO Sport does not limit me doing the usual day to day stuff, which is brilliant. In fact the comfort and the ability to do day to day activities has improved massively since using it,” says Paul. “The SAFO Sport has a little bit more lift, so when I’m running, going to the gym, or doing anything that is more explosive, that little bit more toe clearance improved my ability to jump,” Paul explains. As a result of his new ankle brace, Paul experiences reduced leg fatigue and is far more confident to leap over things during sport.
Paul’s advice for anyone going through a similar journey is that drop foot “doesn’t need to stop you from doing stuff, it may slow you down a little and it may stop you from achieving a certain time or speed. But the SAFO has made a huge difference in my quality of life, it would be a lot more uncomfortable and I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I have done without it.”