By Interactive Metronome - September 28, 2011

An Amputee crosses the Disney Marathon Finish Line: She said IM was the reason and “saved her life”

An Amputee crosses the Disney Marathon Finish Line: She said IM was the reason and “saved her life”

Brenda was born with a deformity of her right foot and never walked the way she would have liked to. So when she was 35, she decided to have a below-the-knee-amputation. Brenda did not expect that the recovery was going to be as hard as it was and went into a deep depression. She had lost all hope to walk now and thought she made the biggest mistake of her life. But Interactive Metronome put her back on her feet! After IM, Brenda completed the Disney Marathon. Brenda attributes her success to IM saying, “Interactive Metronome saved my life”.

In December 2003, Brenda Canup crossed the finish line of the Disney Marathon; an amazing feat for anyone, let alone an amputee. But Brenda’s marathon run was even more amazing considering that a year earlier she could barley walk to her mailbox with the help of her walker. She attributes her success to the Interactive Metronome (IM).

Brenda was born with a deformity of her right foot and learned to walk with an awkward gait. Thanks to her older brothers who never expected less of her on the playground she managed to keep up with her regular daily activities. But as she grew older she knew that there were better options available.

After learning about advances in prosthetic limbs Brenda decided that it was time to take the next step. At age 35, she had a below the knee amputation and was fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Brenda’s surgery went well and she looked forward to walking more smoothly after therapy. But after four months of outpatient gait training she became depressed. Brenda experienced pain when trying to walk and still had not regained independent balance. Near the end of the outpatient regimen Brenda’s therapists were puzzled as to why she had not progressed past using a walker for ambulation. They noted that she became frustrated with the pain during therapy and often cried, thinking that she’d made the worst mistake of her life.

Her therapists at HealthSouth Sea Pines Rehabilitation Hospital in Melbourne, Florida were running a pilot program at that time for pediatric patients using Interactive Metronome (IM) and they suggested she try it. IM improves the underlying process of motor planning and sequencing, a core function of the brain that has shown to contribute to balance and coordination. IM was being used at Health- South Sea Pines to improve balance and gait in children with developmental disorders. The Physical Therapy director thought it was worth trying with Brenda.

Brenda approached the IM therapy skeptically. But after only three therapy sessions using IM Brenda was able to demonstrate independent balance. Her depression started to lift and her hopes rose. The improvements continued and she walked smoothly on her own for the first time. Before she knew it she was able to jog and immediately decided that she had to train for a 5K run. It was during that 5K training that Brenda was interviewed by WESH Channel 2 TV news, NBC Affiliate in Orlando FL, about her amazing recovery. She told the reporter that her dream would be to run a marathon and, well…you know the rest of the story.

Thanks to Brenda and the innovative therapists who wouldn’t give up, IM is used across the country today in amputee, gait and balance clinics where the same types of outcomes continue to be seen.



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