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Strength With Koalaa

Building confidence and upper body strength with a Koalaa prosthetic

Nicole and Hero wear their Koalaa prosthetic to do planks

Introducing "Strength With Koalaa", a new expert-led programme launched by Koalaa in conjunction with physiotherapist Christiaan Malan, to support individuals with limb differences of all ages to fully engage with their prosthetic, build strength and alignment, and promote lifelong wellness.


 

Tackling compensatory behaviour

Building core strength and maintaining good posture are important pieces of the puzzle for long term health. But for individuals with upper body limb differences - whether due to congenital conditions or medical intervention – this can sometimes prove more challenging. 

‘Compensatory behaviour’ is common and in simple terms refers to how an individual with a limb difference may adapt what they’re doing when faced with certain tasks or activities, such as those that require balance and stability (like riding a bike or doing a push up). 

This compensatory behaviour may be: 


  • Physical - Such as taking more weight onto one side of the body or leaning and twisting, which over time can cause pain and place extra strain on joints and the spine. 

  • External - It may involve the use of adaptations, tools and DIY aids – such as cushions and other items commonly found around the home or going through the lengthy referral process to explore the other options that may be available. 


Which is where Koalaa comes in!


 

Koalaa and upper body strength

We have launched a range of weight bearing tools that can be used alongside a Koalaa sleeve to support strength training and conditioning - including the recovery of patients post amputation - while aiding inclusivity and accessibility.


A further bonus being that all our sleeves are easy to fit, comfortable to wear and suitable for putting in the washer after exercise. 


The Nicole Tool is ideal for younger users, while The Nicole Pro is great for adults and more advanced movements.


Through the "Strength With Koalaa" programme, we aim to support our users even further to make full use of their sleeve and tools and combat compensatory behaviours.


 

Helping you get started
Christiaan, Hero and Nicole sit on a yoga mat smiling for the camera

In collaboration with physiotherapist, Christiaan Malan, who specialises in working with individuals with limb differences, we have created a range of free, expert resources. 


A dedicated video series demonstrates step-by-step how to use a Koalaa prosthetic to promote upper body strength, aid posture and alignment, and combat the impact of compensatory behaviour.


They offer advice and ideas for people with limb differences of all ages – including guidance for parents looking for fun ways to introduce and support their child with strength-based exercises. 


You can access them here on our YouTube channel.

 
“The fun element to the Strength With Koalaa programme is just brilliant!” 

For Amy, parent of six-year-old Hero, she hoped that taking part in the "Strength With Koalaa" programme would give them both a better understanding for how muscles and the body work and help Hero avoid developing any injuries or pains later in life, as a result of her limb difference. 


Hero uses her Koalaa prosthetic to do weight-bearing movements

Amy explains: “After following the programme and trying out some of the activities that Christiaan suggested, Hero’s confidence and comfort in the use of her Koalaa ALX went up massively. 


“Before, when something hadn’t worked quite right, or didn’t feel quite right, then Hero would immediately assume that the sleeve wasn’t working. However, after taking part in the programme and activities we learnt that a lot of the time the moments where things didn’t feel quite right turned out to be totally fixable, by engaging different muscles here and building up some more strength there. 


“Having greater confidence and enjoyment in using her sleeve has allowed her to try it out in a wider variety of situations and led to an all-round improvement in her posture and balance.” 


Hero is pictured using her Koalaa sleeve and Nicole Tool.



 
“I finally feel stable in my movements and able to fully engage in activities”

For Nicole, staying active - and especially doing yoga - is something she’s always enjoyed but she previously struggled to find adaptations that could support her to take part fully with all the different movements involved, in particular doing planks and push ups. 


While she would improvise using cushions and blocks, it never felt stable or secure and this was incredibly frustrating. It was also an indiscreet solution, which she felt uncomfortable using in public.  


Nicole uses her Koalaa prosthetic to do weight-bearing movements

Nicole explained: “It has been fantastic working with Christiaan and it’s made a huge difference for my workouts.


“With my upper body limb difference, I have always just figured out my own way of doing things or improvised with what I could find, but I was getting pain in my shoulders from the way I was compensating, which worried me for the future.   

 

“I literally tried everything but there’s a real lack of access to equipment designed for sport and leisure activities - and a lengthy referral process to try to get anything. 


“Using my Koalaa ALX and the Nicole Pro tool - and following Christiaan’s guidance - I finally feel stable in my movements and can fully engage with each activity. All my muscles are being activated and I can feel that I’m far better aligned now.


I go to my yoga classes and the gym and feel confident in what I’m doing.” 


Nicole is pictured using her Koalaa ALX sleeve and the Nicole Pro tool


 
The "Strength With Koalaa" programme

The "Strength With Koalaa" programme is free to access and use. Click here to view!


To find out more about the programme, our prosthetics and tools, or Project Limitless (which provides prosthetics for free to young people aged 18 and under in the UK), please email us - hi@yourkoalaa.com


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