The Momentum brace is helping Laura work towards her 2020 Tokyo Paralympic goals.
Laura was born with Congenital Talipes Equino Varus (Club Foot), a condition where babies are born with one or both of their feet pointing downwards and turned inwards. Laura’s CTEV is structural, involving the bones and joints of her left foot, restricting her range of movement. Due to the severity of Laura’s CTEV, she underwent 2 operations at a very young age, leaving her with an almost fused ankle and limited mobility and stability.
Despite her condition, Laura has always loved sports and excelled at hockey as a teenager; playing for the Wales Women’s National Field Hockey team. Laura was inspired by the 2012 London Paralympics after seeing an athlete competing in the sprint with the same condition as her. She went on to qualify for the World Athletic Championships and came 5th in both the 100m and 200m sprint races. Laura went on to win 2 bronze medals at the European Athletic Championships in 2014 and bronze and silver medals at the same event in 2016.
In 2016 Laura qualified for the Rio Paralympics and came 5th in both races, breaking the British record in her 200m sprint race. However due to her CTEV, Laura was struggling with pain and a lack of stability in her ankle which was causing it to buckle during training sessions. This problem was hindering her training and, therefore, her race times.
Whilst at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Laura saw a competitor wearing a Momentum brace and realised the brace could help her with her own ankle problems. When she returned to the UK, Laura visited Blatchford Clinic and was provided with a bespoke Momentum brace in early 2017.
Momentum is an innovative custom carbon fibre Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO). Designed to partially offload the foot and ankle to stabilise and relieve pressure and pain following complex lower limb injury. With carbon fibre struts that work much like prosthetic running blades, it stores and returns energy to enable participation in high impact activities such as running.
Using Momentum, Laura is now able to train for much longer periods and over longer distances without any pain or having to worry about her ankle buckling, even when she is tired. She now also has a much more level stride whilst running which she hopes will prevent hip injuries in the future and enable her to improve her race times, with the ultimate goal of winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Laura commented, “It’s been great training in my Momentum; I feel secure, stable and much stronger whilst running. I’m hoping to wear it in my next competition.”
You can follow Laura’s progress on Twitter (@LauraSugar1) and Instagram (@laurasugar1).
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