Marcy Runs NYC Marathon Again After 25 Years Thanks to Her Ankle-Foot Orthosis

Marcy Frederico Blog
February 14, 2024
Hanger Clinic

After a car accident left Marcy with severe ankle pain and arthritis, she thought she would never run again. Now, with the assistance of her ankle-foot orthosis, Marcy is back to running marathons and living the life she loves.

When Marcy was 18 years old, she was in a car accident that left her with broken ribs, a concussion, and a shattered wrist and right ankle. Despite the pain from her ongoing injuries, she did not give up on her passion for running. Marcy persevered through the pain in her 20s, getting married, working as a physical therapist, starting a family, and even completing the New York City Marathon three times. But as the pain and arthritis in her ankle worsened, Marcy was forced to give up her passion.

“Following my accident, I developed ankle arthritis. My ankle pain was just getting so bad, so I stopped running. I just felt like I was really stripped of what I had been able to do before.”

Discovering Orthotic Technology

By 2021, Marcy was contemplating ankle fusion surgery, but that would likely mean never being able to run again. After another night of sitting on the couch in pain, Marcy came across videos about an energy-storing and returning (ESR) ankle-foot orthosis, a device unfamiliar to her, even as a physical therapist. She researched and contacted the local Hanger Clinic in Orlando, Florida, where she met Megan Sech, CPO and Chris Toelle, CO.

“I was fortunate to be able to work with Megan and Chris. They talked about this device called a HighPro AFO. It’s an energy-storing and returning AFO that allows you to push off more effectively and helps you propel forward. The day I got the device was incredible. After they fitted me, I could walk more efficiently and even run. I found that as I increased my mileage during a run, I started to get a little more ankle pain. I decided to explore if there were additional options to help with these high-mileage runs.”

To help Marcy complete high-mileage runs, Megan recommended the ExoSym, a hybrid prosthetic-orthotic device for those who still experience limited movement or pain with traditional AFOs.

Training to Run the NYC Marathon Again

“With the assistance of my AFOs, I started doing 5K’s with women in my neighborhood. It was hard, but each one got a little bit easier. As I got faster, I did a 10K with a good friend from high school. I started thinking back to when I ran my last New York City Marathon and realized next year would be the 25th year since I ran my last marathon. I just thought that it would be incredible to run the marathon again, so that’s what I decided to do. Though training for a marathon at age 53 is very different than training at 28, I also knew I was stronger and wiser than I used to be.”

Marcy signed up for the New York City Marathon once again. In addition to training, Marcy, her husband, and her family planned out specific points where they would see each other during the race to provide her support along the way.

“Crossing the finish line of a marathon is incredible. You go through so much, and your body is being put through so much, but you are also uplifted by the crowd and seeing the good and humanity in people. It’s an incredible feeling, pushing your body and knowing that if you want something and you train for it properly, you can do it.

I feel like Hanger Clinic gave me my life back. You know, things that people just take for granted like being able to walk on the beach and run, they gave that back to me. I want other people struggling like me to seek out the possibilities. My world reopened: I was able to run!”

Marcy Frederico

Latest Updates

Subscribe to stay up-to-date on our latest posts.

View All