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“Boundless has been a huge partner in my fight for independence, working with me to come up with the right device that allows me to be as independent as I need to be despite my limitations.” 

Eleana Mastromatteo

A rare condition threatened to rob Eleana of her mobility
—but not her positive attitude

One of the biggest challenges in orthotic care is low awareness of the profession.

So for many patients, the journey from a diagnosis to the right brace can be a long and frustrating one. This certainly was the case with Eleana Mastromatteo, an educational assistant who works with children with autism.

Her journey began in her mid-30s when she started developing a loss of feeling and prickling sensation in her legs and back.  After consulting varous doctors, she finally received a diagnosis of arteriovenous malformation, (AVM), a rare condition characterized by an abnormal tangle of blood vessels that disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation. After undergoing two surgeries, Eleana's doctors still weren’t sure about her long-term prognosis.

“It was tough,” she says. “Some doctors told me that I would never walk again, but I tried to stay positive. I wanted to keep myself safe, happy and productive to do all the things I needed to do to overcome challenges.”

One of her first priorities was to get a brace to help with her balance and mobility. When she was prescribed an Ankle Foot Orthotic (AFO) at Sunnybrook Hospital, she met Orthotic Clinician Gord Ruder, who is well known for coming up with unique solutions. Over the years, they have established a collaborative relationship, exploring various custom-made bracing options.

In some cases, Boundless also recommends ready-to-wear braces from top orthotic manufactures. Given her balance issues, Gord recommended she try a Stance and Swing Control Orthotic, (SSCO®) a revolutionary new device manufactured by Ottobock. This brace has embedded microprossecors that create a more natural stride, and adapt to the user’s walking environment. While this technology doesn’t work for everyone, it was a game changer for Elena, allowing her to walk in tight spaces without worrying about falling.

Moving forward, Elena sees herself in an advocate role—especially for people with unique conditions.

“I am definitely not a textbook case. But Boundless was able to look at all angles of my medical history and lifestyle, and come up with the best orthotic device that meets my needs.”