Break a leg? Forget crutches — transfer the weight of your leg onto one of Forward Mobility’s leg braces. Joel Smith, along with his wife Patty, developed the Freedom Leg, after years of working in the bicycle industry and as an aerospace engineer at Boeing.
The Freedom Leg transfers 100 percent of the weight of your step to your upper leg, enabling you to continue to use the muscles in your leg as you move around, without compromising the progress of your healing foot, which remains in a cast. The user can accomplish all their normal day-to-day tasks without assistance, while at the same time keeping the strength in upper muscles of the injured leg.
Video: The Freedom Leg
The Smiths’ Seattle-area company, Freedom Mobility, designs two other medical mobility products: a collapsible wheelchair and a seated scooter. The idea for the wheelchair came after Smith was asked to design a low-cost wheelchair for use in developing countries. He traveled to Vietnam to learn more about how the wheelchairs are used.
While in Vietnam, Smith was introduced to an American based non-profit that was looking to set up a wheelchair factory in Central Vietnam to create jobs. He and the nonprofit teamed up to launch Kids First Enterprise, which employs workers with disabilities and donates profits to projects that support the disabled and disadvantaged. For its work, Freedom Mobility is a finalist for Inc. magazine’s Newpreneur of the Year, and will compete for $100,000 in grants. (Finalists will be announced by Nov. 10).
According to CNET’s Crave, the Freedom Leg retails for about $350, but the price could be worth it. “It’s hard to compare it to a regular knee brace,” Bill Borders, VP of sales told Crave. “There’s nothing like it that allows people to 100 percent off-load, hands-free. In that sense it’s pretty revolutionary. And because you are putting some weight-bearing load on your injured leg, it really reduces the muscle atrophy in that leg.”