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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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Posts posted by Karen

  1. Paul, I'm so sorry that things have not been better for you and your family. :-( Although I did not expect that you would go skipping off into the sunset, I had hoped you would have been able to walk "stick free" by now. But your attitude is outstanding, and the fact that you are able to wear the prosthesis and accomplish all your daily tasks and more is great progress! Will keep you in my thoughts and send healing thoughts across the pond to you and yours!

    xo Karen


    You are invited to take part in our FIRST gathering of women (who happen to be amputees) in Florida! (and if you don't happen to live here but are visiting at the time, you are welcome to join us!!)

    Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Time: 10am-2pm

    Where: Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA)

    3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd., #38, Orlando, FL

    Organized by: Karen Hughes

    Dress: Casual/Comfortable

    This is a great opportunity for us to get together as members of our unique community for a day of fun, fellowship, and food for mind, body and spirit!

    After everyone has arrived and introductions have been made, Donna, a certified yoga instructor (who happens to be an above-knee amputee), will lead us in a session of adaptive yoga. After lunch we will have an open discussion of issues exclusive to women amputees - no subject will be off limits!!

    This event is open to ALL women in the amputee community with any level of limb loss and abilities. Please spread the word! The more, the merrier!!!

    Please RSVP to Karen at khughes@poacfl.com or call/text 407.721.3946 as soon as possible so I have a headcount for seating, lunch...and a few surprises. :-) http://www.poacfl.com

    • Like 2

  3. Thought I'd share some great videos Ronnie Dickson, an AK amputee and prosthetic intern at POA in Orlando put together. One is "Amputee Biking" and the other "Amputee Running". They are very informative and well put together. Biking Running He also released an "amputee climbing" video this past summer.

    All three videos are available to see on POA's website blog (poacfl.com) or Facebook page (Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates) if these links don't work! :rolleyes:

    Karen :-)


    Orlando, FL

  4. Hi,

    I met a guy at the recent ACA conference in Irvine, CA who works for "Advanced Arm Dynamics" (www.armdynamics.com). He had a prosthetic arm and it was very impressive, both functionally and cosmetically!! He works at the Texas location, but I believe the company has locations in other states which you can check out on the above website. I have no personal experience with this company, though. Take care, and good luck with your search!

    Karen ;-)


    Orlando, FL

  5. Hi, there

    I agree with what OBL said about the hydraulic knees. There are some very good ones out there, and with a through-knee amputation (also called a knee disarticulation) you will have more control of your prosthesis than someone with a shorter femur length. I can't tell you much about the four-bar knees except that they do fold up nicely underneath when sitting, but I don't know of anyone who uses one for running. Endolite, Otto Bock and Ossur all make some excellent hydraulic knees that I'm sure you'd do great with. That being said, both the C-leg by Otto Bock and the Plie 2 by Freedom Innovations are available with a special, shorter attachment for knee disarticulates. I'm also on the "short" side, 5'4", but that has not limited my choice of knees. If that is an issue for you and you really want a microprocessor knee, I believe there is an Asian company making one for shorter people....you might ask your prosthetist if he familiar with them.

    I've been an AK amputee since age 13 and have worn hydraulic knees for most of life, switching to a C-Leg after my daughter was born (10 years ago) because it offered greater safety/stability when carrying her across the lawn, on inclines, etc., but I always found it to be too controlling for me. Three years ago I switched to a Plie knee which is less controlling but still offers more stability than a standard hydrualic knee. If I were doing any running, I'd probably have a separate leg with hydraulic knee for that and any other higher impact activities as they tend to perform and hold up the best under those circumstances.

    If there is any way for you to try a few knees in your prosthetist's office, I'd urge you to do that. Some of the product reps will be happy to bring in demo units. Having never worn a prosthetic leg before, there is no way you can know what is best for your situation, which is where the advice of a good prosthetist comes in. Make sure yours knows you are more concerned with function than looks, and what activities you want to be able to do. PM me if you have any questions you'd like to ask me about my experience with different knees.

    Karen :-)


    Orlando, FL

  6. Hi, there

    I know a young and very active knee-disartic who once swore by the C-leg who just switched to the new Freedom Plie' 2. He absolutely loves it! I have the original Plie', and find it much less controlling and more natural walking than the C-leg. Have demo'd the Plie' 2 and it is even smoother. Ask your prosthetitist to see if he can arrange to have the Freedom rep bring a demo model out for you to try.

    Tried the newest Rheo a few months ago and really liked it. What would make me choose the Plie' over the Rheo would be that Plie' is water resistant and batteries can be charged independent of the prosthesis.

    I also know people who swear by the C-leg, such as bikers and people who do a lot of heavy lifting...it's probably the most stable of all the microprocessors.

    I really would encourage you to trial different knees though, to see which one suits you best personally.



    Orlando, FL

  7. My experience with the AK Ertl procedure was as a revision to an amputation done 35 years prior, so had a lot of atrophy, bone spurs, and a neuroma. It was not a 100% success for me because it did not give me the "dynamic and stable tissue envelope" I was hoping to achieve with the surgery. My "tissue envelope" is actually less stable than before. That said, I no longer have the bone spurs and neuroma. It should also be noted that doing an Ertl procedure as an intial surgery would probably have a better outcome since there wouldn't be a lot of atrophy to deal with.

    Most "standard" amputations now bring the muscle around the bottom of the femur bone to make a pad and then secure it to the lateral side of the bone. I know people who have had very good results with experienced (non-Ertl) surgeons using standard procedure. Just be sure that someone on your team has lots of experience with AK amputations. You might even ask them if they can put you in touch with some of the AK patients they have worked with.

    Hope I've been of some help.; yours is not an easy decision to make, but it sounds like you are doing a good job of gathering info. I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide.

    Karen :-)


    Orlando, FL

  8. Hi, Ribmaster

    I'd like to know more what your definition of "active" is (ie., for some it's running, and high impact sports and others it's being a busy person on your feet and moving all day). If you have the Freedom Renegade foot, it is definitely a high activity, high impact type of foot. For me, it is way too much energy for my day to day life, although I wouldn't mind having one for sports only. Would be nice to have that option! :smile: The Freedom Runway is a great all around smooth walking and active daily life foot, but I wouldn't run on it.

    Generally, most AKs I know tend to go with feet with a softer heel as a good all around choice. But if you are a big guy and put a lot of weight/energy into your steps, a higher activity foot might be better for you. Hopefully your prosthetist will let you try a few. Most manufacturers let you trial them for a month or so. Good luck!! Hope I haven't confused you! :tongue:


  9. Check out the following link/article on a doctor at Georgetown Hospital who is doing minimally invasive procedures with short down-time on amputees to alleviate nerve pain. One of the patients at my prosthetic office had it done and it's helped him. I know you don't want to have any more surgery, but it's an option if nothing else works and it gets to be too much. Take care...



    Orlando, FL


  10. Hi, everyone!

    I thought I'd let you all know that, thanks in part to the excellent advice I received from Captain KB, I learned how to ski using my prosthetic leg (with microprocessor knee) while on a family trip to Lake Tahoe last month!!!! I can't describe the feeling of accomplishment and sheer joy I experienced when I was able to ski down that mountain with my two girls! :smile:

    I was lucky enough to find a disabled ski school within 30 minutes of our resort, and they helped get me set up properly. As Captain KB said, having the foot and shin/pylon positioned correctly was crucial to skiing successfully. We spent some time experimenting with pads, etc. The first day I used two poles with little skis on them to help balance and make turns. I was speeding down the mountain in no time.... what a rush!!!!! My next lesson was at the resort I was staying at. I wanted to try skiing with "regular" poles, so that took some more instruction. It was definitely harder for me to turn LEFT (my amputated side), but once I got the hang of it I did pretty well. Fortunately, since we had over 7 feet of snow fall that week, any time I did miss a turn and wipe out it would be into a nice fluffy bed of powder!

    I'm back home now, safe and sound, with lots of wonderful memories. I'd encourage anyone thinking about giving it a try to go for it! If your residual limb isn't long or strong enough to provide enough stability, there is alternative equipment for just about any circumstance! Below is a pic of my daughters and I after a run down the mountain. Hopefully it is sized appropriately, but if not, someone please fix for me.... thx. :blush:


    xo Karen

  11. Way to go!!!!!!! So happy for you!!!!

    I will attempt skiing for the FIRST TIME EVER in a couple of weeks, so you have really inspired me!

    Think I will PM you for some advice! ... :smile:


    Since when does it snow in Orlando? LOL

    Be careful Karen. Have fun!!! I'm jealous. I need to get away, but I'm thinking someplace warm with pools and drinks with little umbrellas in them.

    Neal! It's really COLD enough for snow in Orlando... 28 degrees tonight!!!! :ohmy: But I will be skiing (hopefully) out west - Lake Tahoe!! Very excited and nervous, but just got some excellent advice from Capt KB that I will print and take with me. Will let you know how I do when I return, although I doubt there will be any video for youtube (maybe America's funniest videos!?)..... stay tuned...


  12. Jordan Thomas is a 20-year-old bilateral amputee who lost his legs in a boating accident 4 years ago. He started the Jordan Thomas Foundation to raise funds so that other children who need prosthetics and don't have the resources he did can get the help they need. To date the foundation has raised over $400K!!

    You can read an article with more about Jordan and his nomination for CNN's "Hero of the Year" award using this link http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/vote/

    What I wanted to mention here is that there is just one more week to vote (thru November 19), so please take a look and vote as many times as you can! If Jordan wins this award it will bring awareness of the need for prosthetic insurance parity for over 2 Million amputees to a National audience! You can help make this happen! Vote now, and vote often!!!


    Karen :wub:

  13. Mary,

    A few more thoughts... :smile:

    Amy has just confirmed what I thought I had heard, that some Symes amputees can bear weight on the end of their limb, which can be extremely helpful as you wouldn't have to rely on hopping or crutches when your prosthesis is off. That would be a huge "pro", in my opinion. Ask the surgeon whether or not he/she does that type amputation and if it's a possibility for you. It would be interesting to hear what the answer is. Also, if you decide to go BK, ask the surgeon to put you in contact with some former patients with BK amps (as many as possible) so you can see if they are happy with the surgery or have had issues with it. Any surgeon can perform an amputation, but not all do them correctly. I've met several patients who are unable to wear a prosthesis comfortably because of the way the amputation was done. Your prosthetist should also be able to put you in contact with his patients who have had BK amputations which were done well.

    Hello Mary,

    I apologize for the delay!! :blush:

    I'm not good with input on this as my 'equipment' is extremely outdated. Any issues I have may very well be because I just need a new prosthesis. Therefore, I do not want to say anything that would steer you away from a Symes amputation.

    What I will say: I know some Symes can put weight on the end of their leg (meaning, walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night) without putting on their prosthesis. I am not one of those. However, my amputation was done in 1978. They (meaning the surgeons) may have done things differently back then than they do now. (?) No clue.

    While at the ACA conference I heard of a Symes who runs marathons (much to my astonishment and awe)! I want to email him but can't recall his name.

    The advice to talk with your prosthetist and surgeon to get a list of pros-n-cons to each procedure sounds like the best advice. In addition, if you go with the B/K, you'll want to figure out with them how high to go to maintain the best leverage yet also be able to purchase the components you want to have the life that you want.

    You've got A LOT of research a head of you.

    Good Luck!


  14. Hi, Mary

    You should be able to do all the things you mention with either a Symes or BK amputation. If I were you I'd ask both the surgeon and your prosthetist which method they would recommend for you and why, and what the pros and cons are. It would also be helpful if they could put you in contact with some active Symes and BK patients to get their feedback. Educate yourself as best you can. Knowledge is power, and will help you make this difficult decision.

    xo Karen

  15. Hi, Mary

    I know some symes amputees who are very active (although they are limited to certain lower profile foot styles). I think you have to figure out how active you want to be, ie., run marathons or a jog around the neighborhood. BK's can be fit with high activity equipment, but I believe Symes amps can bear weight on the end of their limb(?). I hope you hear from others who have made a similar choice. I know it's not an easy one. Hugs!!!!!


    Hey All!

    I put up a new topic but I guess no one wants to give any advice? I have to make a decision on having a revision, so the next step is symes or bk amputation. Not sure which way to go.....I am gearing more towards a bk. I will be seeing the vascular Dr who will be doing the revision...not sure what questions to ask? Can someone please give me some advice?!