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The future of crutches offers complete mobility by redistributing weight

The future of crutches offers complete mobility by redistributing weight

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A Washington-based company has devised a weight-redistributing leg brace that offers full mobility to the user and replaces conventional crutches.

Ever break your leg and had to use crutches to get around?

Aside from the difficulty of moving around, it's awfully hard on the underarms.

Forward Mobility intends to do away with all that. The Edmonds, Wash.-based company, which originally began as a bicycle manufacturing outfit in the 1990s, has designed and manufactured a line of medical mobility products that includes a collapsible wheelchair and a seated scooter for lower-body injuries.

But it's the Freedom Leg, released at the MedTrade industry show in October, that's got people truly excited.

Functioning like a hands-free brace, the 2.5-lb. Freedom Leg is an off-loading prosthetic that allows for full mobility without assistance, all while strengthening the upper muscles of the injured leg.

So how's it work? It's supposed to transfer the body's weight away from the injured part of a person's leg and toward the upper, uninjured part.

Here's a video to demonstrate:

It's not quite a knee brace, but it does the trick. It's expected to retail for about $350.

The intentions of the product match the company's philosophy. The company uses an organization in Vietnam called Kids First Enterprise to manufacture its devices. Twenty percent of that organization's workforce has disabilities, and all of its profits go to projects that support the disabled and disadvantaged.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure