Martin's Agilium Freestep story

CAD Draftsman, defied the odds and climbed Mount Snowdon despite suffering chronic Osteoarthritis pain.

Martin Rowlands, from Littlehampton endured a long 13 years struggling to walk due to chronic Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia pain.

In 1998, Martin developed pain in his hips that began to disrupt his day-to-day activities, and was initially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and later developed Osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bone breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. Over time, Martin’s pain became so severe; he was unable to continue his job as a site engineer; “I used a walking stick for 13 years and a half hour shopping trip was followed by three days in bed” Martin explains. After soldiering on for another few years, Martin met with a Physiotherapist who encouraged him to start exercising more to help alleviate his symptoms. Through his physio, Martin was introduced to a hypermobility specialist who diagnosed him as having ‘Hypermobility Syndrome’. Upon the advice to exercise more, Martin started running regularly for a few years until the pain in his knees became ‘crippling’. This led to a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon for a meniscus repair, although this eventually was deemed pointless due to the osteoarthritis. It was during this time Martin met his orthotist based in the Chichester clinic, who recommended the Agilium Freestep as a preventative option to knee surgery. The support from the Agilium Freestep was an important factor alongside the realignment.

The Agilium Freestep provided an ideal solution for Martin, as the alignment of the brace relieved the pressure off the inner side of his knee, thus reducing pain and the need for painkillers. Upon receiving these innovative new braces, Martin enquired as to their limitations and was challenged to ‘find some’. During the first few months, Martin put the Agilium Freestep through the ultimate test. During a weekend trip away with his wife to Mount Snowdon, Martin decided to take on the personal challenge and made the climb to the top. Martin remembers, “Thanks to the Agilium Freestep, I had no pain throughout the day, except for a couple of hard impacts on the way down,” Martin explains. “I walked 8.5 miles (up the Miner's track & down the PyG track), gained 2368 feet in elevation, & completed the walk in 5 hours & 20 minutes, which included 20 minutes queuing for photos at the top, and a lunch break on the way down”.

Over the 6 months that followed, Martin re-built his running distance back up to a half marathon which he completed in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 14 seconds, “This is a testament to benefits of the Freestep”, I like the symmetry of walking with a stick for 13 years and then running 13 miles”, explains Martin.

The Agilium Freestep works by supporting the ankle with an adaptive calf shell fitting below the knee, making it suitable for those who find an over the knee orthoses uncomfortable to wear, and has a reduced risk of slipping.

Martin is so impressed with the impact the Agilium Freestep has had on his everyday lifestyle he has continued to use the brace, helping him keep mobile on his commute to central London for work. Now Martin recommends the Agilium to Freestep to others suffering with chronic knee pain, “Go see an Orthotist, get some of these, they’re great!”


Agillium Freestep 2.0

The Agilium Freestep 2.0 was developed to treat unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis. It is worn on the foot and lower leg rather than around the knee and alters the load line of the knee, thus providing targeted relief for the damaged cartilage. The load line describes the point where body weight primarily impacts the cartilage.

For more information about the Agillium Freestep 2.0 please click here.