Meet Frank: A Stroke Survivor....Learn About His Road To Recovery

Meet Frank: A Stroke Survivor....Learn About His Road To Recovery

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Frank originally from the Netherlands, now living in New Zealand is a stroke survivor who has been on an incredible rehabilitation journey since 2019 when he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage. As a young father, a photographer, a graphic apparel designer, a Tango dancer and a snowboarder, the impact was devastating.

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Not able to move his left side at all, this determined man knew it was a long way back and he had a huge fight ahead of him.

Having participated in Argentinian Tango and snowboarding (to instructor level) over the years, his body awareness was high but the need for rehab meant going into movement at a totally different level. Learning to walk he had to experiment with shoes. They needed to be lighter and flexible with a wide toe box and a small drop. He tried some other brands but the stack was the drawback. The sweet spot was a 4-6mm drop for walking. Knowing he needed to go flat to get a more normal function of the foot and ankle, like a child learning to walk for the first time, he was trying to find the perfect footwear solution. Wiggle room for toes was also important and for the gym a more natural feeling was needed, more of a barefoot option that would provide neurostimulation and muscle stimulation.

Following a fitting assessment with Sole Mechanics, Frank now wears the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II FG - a good starting point with a little more material under the foot until his calcaneal fat pad can handle the Primus Lite III. He's comfortable not only wearing the Primus Trail II FG in the gym but being able to fo for alks without a heel. They've become his go to shoe was they're easy to put on and take off. Active shoes with good ventilation providing maximum stimulation and with the option of adding insoles on colder days giving additional benefits of extra stimulation and sensory feelings from the insole pattern

“I can definitely recommend the Vivobarefoot Trail Primus Trail II FG as part of my rehab and probably anyone that wants to work on their feet. The secure fit around the ankle on the back of the foot clearly allows the foot to do what it needs to do. It’s not just the actual toe box but the wider fit between the ball and the heel of the Vivobarefoot that allows the metatarsals to splay. I feel this allows for better blood flow, mobility and muscle development. This is a big deal as part of rehab I think and makes you look with different eyes at every shoe you put on after that.” 


Frank has made incredible progress with the left side of his body. After 3 months of work, his foot strength and movement are significantly improved. His body is more relaxed than 3 months ago - Frank is no longer tipped over when sitting on the floor, He's noted that been an important part of shifting his body over to the left when walking all aided by wearing the right shoes. Frank tells us his learning from their journey is how we take our body for granted and how he now has a whole new appreciation for the need to look after it from the ground up. Feet and footwear solutions are key factors in recovery and shoe change was essential, Frank truly believes transitioning to Vivobarefoot is helping his journey.

Frank’s next pair of Vivo’s was the Tracker Decon FG2 perfect for the New Zealand winter. Cold temperatures can really impact tone. This is a very different style being higher, most boots wouldn’t provide enough flexibility for Frank to put on but this one did the trick and the upper provided more support.


The next shoe for Frank may be the Geo Court III. As the weather improves and warmer days approach, he’s finding he can get around without support straps as long as he’s in “the right” shoes.  The Primus Trail has worked well for short supermarket trips on the way to the gym and now he’s keen to explore the wide, thin and flexible outsole of the Geo Court III and see if that allows muscle control to be regained which will positively affect the position of the foot and how the leg responds.

Frank hopes to help others by sharing his story and the team here at Sole Mechanics are really excited to support his Road to Recovery. If you think Sole Mechanics can support your health journey, book an appointment with one of our friendly team either in-store or online.

If you’d like to learn more about Frank and his recovery program, check out his Instagram and a recent article he participated in for MedieKultur, a Journey of Media and Communication Research - #strokesurvivor on Instagram, Conjunctive experiences of adapting to disability by Mari Schreiber PhD, Postdoc, Department of Communications, University of Salzburg.

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