Teresa's Turbomed Story

Teresa currently lives in Cumbria’s spectacular Eden Valley, a long way from where she grew up in Surrey. For fun and to stay fit, she's a keen cyclist and recently invested in an e-tandem bike, an incredible machine that inspires confidence and allows her to venture further afield. She also loves hiking in the fells and reaching places that aren’t possible on two wheels.


Here's Teresa's story in her own words:

"I retired five years ago, so, in principle, have more time to spend out in the wilds; however, a diagnosis of MS, six and a half years ago, made that aspiration more of a challenge. During the time since that diagnosis, my mobility has deteriorated (largely owing to foot drop and muscle wastage), and I’m often undermined by debilitating fatigue. It’s sometimes hard to believe that the fatigue will ever subside; but, when it does, I try to make the most of it, to keep as active as possible, and to continue to set myself hiking and/or cycling challenges.

MS sufferer Teresa is able to get out and do more thanks to her TurboMed Ankle Foot Orthotic brace

Post diagnosis, my mobility goals were to continue to keep doing all the outdoor things I’ve always done, recognising that this would get harder and harder, but not – at least in the short term – impossible. So I’ve continued biking – we have weekends away on the tandem, and even did the Coast to Coast recently in aid of Bike the UK for MS; and I’ve also continued hiking, hoping to nail Helvellyn this year, once the weather’s a bit warmer and more stable.

With MS, there’s no real sense of ‘rehabilitation’: it’s an incurable neurodegenerative disease, so it ultimately only gets worse. Nevertheless, medical professionals all agree that remaining active is a huge plus in combating the debilitating effects of the illness. Saying this, of course, is much easier than doing it. Often, bouts of fatigue simply make it impossible. Schooling myself, mentally and physically, to navigate deep fatigue troughs is part of the coping strategy – I have to remind myself that better days will come again and to discipline myself not to give up. I won’t pretend that it isn’t hard. And it’s been hard too for those around me, especially my partner, who also has to cope and come to terms with my deterioration. But tandem-riding and hill-walking helps us face this challenge together."


"I heard about Blatchford via visits to the orthotics departments in Penrith and Carlisle, specifically through Archie Veale. Archie brings a keen personal insight into his work, helping people with mobility issues to keep active for as long as possible, and to avoid injury. Archie introduced me to the TurboMed range of AFO braces. I’d used other AFOs previously, but found they weren’t sufficiently robust to reliably support my hikes and scrambles – in short, they kept breaking. So he switched me to the TurboMed XTERN Classic, which was a gamechanger – it allowed for a more normal gait, gave good forward momentum, and offered greater peace of mind that it wouldn’t just snap whilst I was out on remote fells.

Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Teresa with her dog out for a walk

More recently, I’ve been trialing the XTERN SUMMIT AFO. Without a doubt, this is the Rolls-Royce version of the XTERN Classic – it’s so light, you barely know you’re wearing it! The SUMMIT provides the same level of support as the Classic, and offers the dual advantage of being less bulky and feather-light, making it less obtrusive and much less tiring to use on long hikes. I’m confident that it’ll give me a realistic shot at achieving Helvellyn and other Lakeland mountains this year.

I’d definitely recommend the Blatchford range of devices to other people with MS. I’m part of the East Cumbria MS community, and we often share experiences and talk about the solutions that work best for us – I’ve already pointed some of my peers towards the TurboMed XTERN Classic, with the hope that they’d benefit from it as much as I’ve done."

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