When a friend and physical therapist noticed patients struggling to balance and walk with their single-point and quad canes, he sought the help of industrial salesman Jamie Jordan to find a solution. They dissected how a typical cane functions and, after numerous sketches, prototypes and tests over a couple of years, the FlexSTICK was born.
Each free-standing FlexSTICK has a base and three spring-loaded legs made of high-strength reinforced plastic, and FlexSTICK’s tripod design is more stable than four legs because it reduces wobbling, said Jordan, who co-owns Grapevine-based The FlexSTICK Co. with Simon Chen of 3C Automation. The design allows each leg of the cane to maintain constant contact with the walking surface, giving stability throughout the gait cycle and allowing a person to walk faster.
“Through word-of-mouth marketing and our website, FlexSTICKS.com, we shipped about 500 canes last year,” Jordan said. “We have raving fans, and our customers range from four years old to 98. We are especially embraced by those under 70.”
The first FlexSTICKs shipped in August 2010, and total sales are more than 700. The preassembled canes come in several colors, sell for $84.95 and are partially covered by Medicare and private insurance. Each FlexSTICK comes with a small LED flashlight for walks at night.
“It reduces stress on the wrist, shoulder, elbow and back,” Jordan said. “We’ve even had people who’ve gone hiking with these.”
Several retail pharmacies and durable-equipment companies just started selling FlexSTICKs, including one in Manhattan. Jordan and Chen also are seeking more funding to increase the company’s marketing and sell the canes in more places.
“We just sent a couple FlexSTICKs to an orthopedic surgeon in Brazil,” said Jordan, who also sent FlexSTICKs to an orthopedic surgeon in Saudi Arabia.
Jordan hopes FlexSTICK grows to be the best-known assistive-walking device within five years.
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