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Exercise sling

When patients at Mona Vale Hospital who have had hip or knee surgery start walking with a support frame, they need to avoid putting weight on their affected limb.

“Some elderly people can’t hold their leg up for any length of time, so that’s not a solution,” Physiotherapist Cathy explained. One of the physios would use a device such as a towel as a sling to hold up the patient’s leg, but this was awkward and ineffective.

Cathy thought a sort of brace would be ideal, and worked out a possible design. She asked TAD to help with it, and the highly successful result has been christened the Slinga-roo.

Cathy suggested an adjustable soft brace which would wrap around the lower leg, with adjustable straps to hang it off the support frame (which could be altered to suit patients of different heights). The fabric needed to be water resistant and non-porous, so it could be washed between use by different patients.

Volunteer Jim Campbell worked with Cathy to make a mock-up from her design, and then it was sewn by volunteer Betty Gill. The Slinga-roo has a 10mm-thick support pad which wraps around the leg below the knee, held in place by two sets of horizontal straps.

A pair of vertical webbing straps, joined by a quick-release plastic buckle, attaches the pad to the walking frame. The webbing straps are strongly sewn down the sides of the pad, making it semi-rigid so the brace doesn’t bunch up.

It is now easy for the physiotherapist to strap on the brace while the patient is sitting, then clip up the straps when he or she stands up in the frame.

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.