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A Mountain Top Challenge

How SDO® garments helped Michael reach new heights.

At the age of just 24, Michael Pursey suffered a massive brain haemorrhage, a type of stroke, leaving him unable to talk, eat, walk or take care of himself.

From one moment, standing in front of a class of special needs children, where Michael worked as a teaching assistant, to the next, waking up in University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, his life changed beyond imagination.

That was in January 2019 and the journey Michael has been on since is nothing but astounding and a testament to his incredible perseverance. Supported along the way by many medical specialists, The Stroke Association, and the Marauders Men’s Health Group, Michael was determined he would not spend his life in a wheelchair.

Michael-in-his-SDO-suit-websiteA year ago, Michael set himself the goal to climb Pen Y Fan, at 886m the highest peak in south Wales. Having also worked as a sports coach for Neath Port Talbot council, Michael wanted to inspire other younger stroke survivors and to raise awareness that it’s not something that only affects the elderly and unwell.

Helena Cook, Michael’s neurological physi­ot­he­rapist, from Neuro Physio Wales reached out to Medigarments to ask if we could help Michael with our SDO® (Sensory Dynamic Orthosis) garments.

SDO® Original garments are designed to provide constant and consistent compression for sensory and proprioceptive feedback. They also provide musculoskeletal alignment and resistance whilst allowing movement thus aiding motor learning and neural integration. The aim is to optimise and enhance functional performance by improving motor control and fluency of movement. These garments are Class 1 medical devices and are made to the patient’s specific measures.

We spoke with Michael about his experience wearing his SDO® garments and asked Helena Cook his neurological physiotherapist how they helped Michael.

"Michael, how did the garments feel the first time you put them on?"

“I could instantly feel the support and compression, especially in the top because of the compression panels. I could feel it open my chest out straight away.”

Michael Pursey

"Helena, what improvements did you observe through Michael using the garments?"

“Michael’s balance and gait pattern changed and improved. He was able to spend more time in single leg stance, had a greater stride length, and was able to reduce the fixing of his eye gaze to be able to look around as he walked.

We took videos of him walking on the treadmill with and without the garments in the same session. There was a very obvious difference and improvement in the gait pattern when wearing the garments.

What was even better, was that we were then able to show Michael the videos and he could see the difference for himself. This was a great way to ensure compliance with wearing them.”

Helena Cook - Neurological Physi­ot­he­rapist, Neuro Physio Wales

Michael and the Mauraders

"Michael, how long did it take before you felt a benefit from the garments?"

“In the top, I instantly felt benefit because it physically moved my body shape. When I did the walking on the treadmill with and without the garments, I realised they were doing stuff without me feeling it as I could see it on the video how my walking was better.”

"And how did the garments help you during the climb?"

“It’s hard to say. I feel the compression when I first put them on, then I forget I’m wearing them, so they must feel comfortable. I wasn’t thinking about them during the climb, but I didn’t feel so flimsy, so they must have been supporting and they helped when I got tired.”

"Helena, do you consider that continued use of the garments will help Michael make further advancements?"

“Definitely. Daily use will aid the proximal support and control he is currently lacking. This will reduce the compensatory tone that limits Michael’s selective movement and, enable more normal movement patterns to be repeated and practised as he goes about his daily activities. These improved movement patterns will then become the new norm. With improved balance and greater control of movement, our next goal is running!!”

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Medigarments Ltd is the company behind the internationally recognised brands Jobskin® and SDO®. We lead the way in rehabilitation therapy and are the largest UK manufacturer of specialist custom compression garments supplied through therapy and orthotic professionals.­ Our reputation for the design and supply of technically advanced garments has been built over 40 years supplying the highest quality made-to-measure products. Our garments are used to manage scarring as a result of burns or traumatic injuries. In the field of dynamic compression, they are used to increase sensory and proprioceptive feedback as well as provide musculoskeletal support.

We are dedicated to providing the ultimate in therapy management, with a focus on improving patient quality of life.

If you are interested in Medigarments Ltd or any of our products, please contact us via telephone on 0115 973 4300 or email at

© 2022 Medigarments Ltd. Jobskin® and SDO® are the registered trademarks of Medigarments Ltd.