Athletes with Prosthetics

An athletic lifestyle as an amputee is no different

Were you once an avid athlete prior to an amputation? Losing a limb is difficult for every amputee but can be especially frustrating for those who previously played sports. Being unable to compete in sporting activities can seem discouraging. However, just because you have a prosthesis does not mean that you have to stop participating. With the proper sport prosthesis designed for the specific activity you want to do you can get right back in the game. There are a variety of sport specific prosthetics that can help every amputee continue participating in athletic activities. There are many famous athletes with prosthetics. Read on to find out which prosthesis is right for you.

How do I choose the best prosthesis for my sport?

Every amputee is different. Whether it’s a leg, arm or hand, the first step to finding the best prosthesis for your sporting needs is to meet with an experienced prosthetist. This expert will help design a custom prosthesis for you as well as help you with the best choice for the sport you want to be involved in. There are limbs available for a large variety of activities such as swimming, basketball, cycling, running, fishing, skiing and many more.  Just about every activity, whether it be indoors, outdoors, high impact or low can be accomplished with the proper prosthesis.  With all of these options you will be able to continue your favorite sport.

What are bionic sports prosthetics?

If you are highly competitive and serious about your athletic activity, you may want to consider a bionic prosthetic. With highly advanced materials and responsiveness bionic prosthetics are a few notches above a non-bionic alternative. Bionic sports prosthetics are custom made to comply with sport specific regulations.  They are for the highly competitive athlete.   Bionic prosthetics function similar to the way your own bones and muscles respond to the activity you are performing.   Their focus is to imitate the limbs natural behavior allowing for maximum performance during athletic activities. Bionic prosthetics are not meant for everyone and it is best to discuss your options with an experienced prosthetist. Advancing technology provides athletes with prosthetics many options.

If you have been feeling left out of the game since your amputation you don’t have to sit on the sidelines another minute. Talk to your prosthetist at OP Centers. We can create a custom prosthesis that you can use to continue your favorite athletic activity.


Tips for Pediatric Orthotics

Tips for parents of pediatric orthotic patients

When you have a child in need of an ankle foot orthosis or AFO, it can be stressful trying to choose the best style and fit.  That is where we come in.  Our orthotist will help you and your child feel at ease from ordering to wearing pediatric orthotics.  At your appointment we will do a variety of things to achieve the proper fit, function and style.

During the appointment

We will begin by taking your child’s measurements to assure a custom fit.  You and your child will be able to choose the color and design of your custom orthosis.   With the variety of colors and patterns available, your child can choose an option that fits their unique personality.  There will also be samples on hand for you to look at. What to keep in mind for pediatric orthotics:

AFO choices you will be able to make:

  • The hard outer plastic shell color and design
  • Velcro color (if necessary)
  • Custom Transfers

Buying Shoes

An important part to wearing the AFO is a properly fitting shoe.  The shoe your child wears needs to be comfortable and secure so that your child continues wearing the AFO.  Depending on your child’s specific needs, your orthotist may order custom orthopedic shoes for you or you may be able to choose your own provided you bring them to the appointment and let the specialist determine if they will work best.  Here are some tips on selecting shoes for your child to wear with his or her AFO:

  • A shoe with a sole that is removable will create more room for the orthosis
  • For ease of brace fitting, shoes with an extended tongue and straps or ties work best
  • High tops or shoes with a higher ankle may better support the ankle but may not fit with the AFO
  • There are a variety of modern brands that are designed to fit with an AFO, check with your orthotist for a list

Shoe Tips

You may need to purchase two sizes of shoes to accommodate the two different foot sizes, one for the brace and one without. You should focus on finding the smallest shoe size that fits the orthosis.  Any shoe that is too large could create a tripping hazard.  Using a simple shoe horn will help getting the braced foot in the tight shoe.  If you opt for a canvas shoe, you may be able to snip a few threads on the tog to increase the ease of putting the shoe on.  Also, the non braced shoe may require an insert to create balance and assure that both legs are the same height.

Sock tips

The sock is the only barrier between the AFO, shoe and the skin.  There are socks that are purposely designed to be worn with AFO’s.  Socks that are moisture-wicking, wrinkle resistant and seamless work best.  Another feature to look for is a cotton blend; the socks need to be breathable yet hold their shape.

Getting support

Even though every child and family’s situation is unique, you are not alone in your journey.  A great way to feel more at ease with your situation is to connect with others who have similar challenges.  There are many support groups available for you and your child.  Your orthotist will be able to steer you in the right direction for meeting similar families.

When your child needs an AFO it can be stressful at first.  If you contact the professionals at OP Centers, our customized service and our experienced staff will guide you and your family every step of the way.



Creating a Custom Prosthesis

Steps to Creating a Custom Prosthesis

Every patient’s amputation situation is unique. All prosthetic limbs are custom fitted to meet each patient’s specific needs and lifestyle. There are many important steps from beginning to end that will ensure a comfortable fit.

The first step to a successful experience is a consultation. At the consultation many questions are asked. Your lifestyle, activity level, personal interests, employment, leisure activities, are all very important in determining which type of prosthesis will best suit your needs. It is also imperative that the prosthetist work with the physician who is performing the surgery. This way the prosthetist can get all of the details of the operation, so he or she can better design a prosthesis that meets your individual needs.

Once you have determined, along with your physician and prosthetist, the style of prosthesis you need, measurements will be taken to capture the shape of your limb. If possible, a prosthetist will take measurements of your limb pre-surgery. This can be a tremendous help as it allows the specialist to expertly size the prosthesis. Once surgery is complete you will most likely be fitted with a post-op prosthesis that helps reduce swelling, reduces pain and assists you in your adjustment period. This is only a temporary prosthesis until you are fully healed. Once the swelling has gone down and you are fully healed, the prosthetist can start creating the prosthesis.

Computer aided design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM) are often used to enhance the fit, function and efficiency of each patient’s prosthesis. This technology is imperative in getting the right fit and comfort for the patient. Once your new prosthesis is created specifically for your needs you can begin the process of learning how to utilize it to its fullest potential.

After the amputation and prosthetic device fitting, you must then go through physical therapy. It can be very tough for an individual to learn how to walk using a prosthetic leg or brush your teeth with a prosthetic hand. Physical therapy is vital on your journey as a new amputee. You need to focus on how to use your new prosthesis for life’s activities. During physical therapy, you and your prosthesis will be closely monitored and any necessary adjustments will be made.

Throughout this time, your prosthetist will pay close attention to the interface between your residual limb and the prosthesis. Due to the fact that the swelling is finally diminishing, your residual limb will likely shrink in the months following surgery.

The new prosthesis may have to go through some altering in order to match the reduction in size that occurs. You will go through a major life changing adjustment period and your prosthetist, nurses, physical therapists, peer counselors, friends and family are all there to support you. You will continue visiting the prosthetist throughout your life. As time goes by your prosthetic providers will continue bringing you the latest technological advances in prosthetic design.

There are many factors involved in creating a custom prosthesis. You can be assured that your prosthetist is expertly qualified to bring you the best prosthesis for your lifestyle and will be by your side to make sure you have the best fit and function available throughout your life.