Left to right: Jim Markovich, occupational therapist; Lina Palazzolo, occupational therapist assistant; Brandon Aldan; Cody Gardner, physical therapy student; and Allison Buehrle, physical therapist

Brandon Aldan was born with paramyotonia congenita, a genetic disorder that causes muscle stiffness, especially in cold temperatures.


Due to the paramyotonia congenita, Aldan experienced rhabdomyolysis in January 2017, a condition in which skeletal muscles break down and damage the kidneys.


At age 40, Aldan wanted to get back to being with his daughter and enjoying his career as a hockey instructor.


He came to The Westchester House in Chesterfield, Missouri, for rehabilitation on Jan. 25. He was unable to walk when he arrived, and he required assistance to get out of bed or move from one surface to another. He was at a high risk of falling, and the condition affected his cognition and voice slightly.


Physical, occupational and speech therapists put Aldan into an intensive therapy program designed to get him home safer and faster. They used electrical stimulation to help prime his muscles for movement, and the LiteGait® system to help relieve his weight as he practiced walking and balance. He also used the NuStep® recumbent trainer to exercise his upper and lower body together.


“Brandon continuously had the motivation to push himself beyond my expectations,” said Cody Gardner, physical therapy student. “He always assumed that he was going to get better and back to the things he loves.”


"The therapists did a tremendous job continually addressing and adapting to my specific daily living and occupational needs,” said Aldan.


Alden returned home independently on Feb. 10, able to walk without an assistive device and with normal balance.