The SAFO gives physiotherapist Denise her freedom again

A physiotherapist with an extremely rare vascular condition that almost resulted in the loss of her leg says she has been given her life back thanks to a unique orthosis made by Dorset Orthopaedic.

Denise Park, of Clitheroe, has the genetic condition Klippel-Trenauney Syndrome, which was eroding the bone in her leg. Experimental treatment to save her leg worked but it left her with several after effects, including extreme sensitivity to pressure on her skin, and having to immobilise her lower leg.

After two years of using crutches to get around and finally wearing a rigid air walker boot, Denise needed a more viable solution and after several unsuccessful calls to different clinics, found what she needed at Dorset Orthopaedic.

She said: “I rang so many people to see if they could make something for me, and no one could help. When I saw Dorset’s motto, Life without limits, I called them and they said, ‘come in and let’s see what we can do, we have the materials so should be able to make something that could work’, I was so happy, at last a positive response.”

Denise, who is a physio specialising in injuries to mountain and fell runners, triathletes and climbers and runs her own business, attended Dorset Orthopaedic’s Southern clinic in Ringwood to work with orthotists to create her unique orthosis.

A combination of a carbon fibre framework and soft silicone to relieve pressure in painful areas, Denise has a one-of-a-kind SAFO (silicone ankle foot orthosis) which has allowed her to return to work, resume swimming again and walk for longer.

“I had been on crutches for two years so when it came to wearing the SAFO for the first time, I was wary but I went outside and walked normally again,” she said. “It was a really emotional moment. I don’t think the team at Dorset realise what they’ve given me, because it’s priceless.

“I think the moral of this story is definitely not to give up because somewhere out there, there’s someone who can give you answers and can help.”