A Step Up

Custom-fit prosthetic leg offers new lease on life.

Ronald Bobba took his first steps on a prosthetic left leg two years ago. Since then, walking has once again become an activity the 68-year-old retiree does quite naturally, without so much as a thought to any potential consequences.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Ronald is walking comfortably with his new socket.

“It’s something I don’t even think twice about anymore,” says Ronald, who was forced two years ago to have his left leg amputated below the knee due to complications stemming from a motorcycle accident. “I start walking now and it’s like, whatever.”
And Ronald walks a lot. For the first time since his left leg was injured more than 30 years ago, he walks on a treadmill at the gym as part of his regular workout routine. He walks while sightseeing. He even walks the parks at Disney World®.
“My family has season passes to Disney, and I still bring my electric scooter to the park, but I usually end up walking about half the time that we’re there,” Ronald explains. “It actually feels good to get out and walk.”
That level of comfort, which Ronald struggled to find after he was injured, comes courtesy of the work of David S. Goris, CPO, the president of Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Perfect Fit

David custom designs, builds and fits prostheses based on individual needs and fit Ronald for his first prosthetic leg two years ago. He also re-fit him just recently for a new socket, which is the part of the prosthetic leg that the limb sits in.
“When you wear a prosthetic leg, you also wear socks that take up the slack between your stump and the socket,” Ronald explains. “It got to a point where I was having to wear two and sometimes three of those thick socks.
“That can get pretty cumbersome. I was also starting to feel, not what I would call pain, but discomfort – almost like it is if you get a pebble in your shoe, except for me it was in the stump of my leg just below the knee.
“You know the pebble is there, and you can keep on walking because it’s not going to kill you, but it’s annoying. It wasn’t going to cause me any extreme harm or damage, but at the same time, it wasn’t doing me any good either.”
Because of physical changes in the limb, David reports, most patients who are fit for prosthetic legs require a replacement socket within a year of first being fit for it.
“The analogy I give is that it’s a lot like eyeglasses,” David offers. “The important part is the lens piece because that’s specific to you. But as you age, your eyes change, and you need to have different lenses ground to keep up with the changes in your body.”
Since being fit for his new socket, Ronald has experienced more than just a change in comfort level. He’s also experienced a change in lifestyle. As a result, he’s doing things now that he never could have imagined doing before.
“I’ve been going to the gym all along, but with the new socket, I have been able to increase the time I ride on the stationary bike,” he says. “I’ve also increased the amount of time I walk on the treadmill.
“I was only walking on that for about four or five minutes before, but with the new socket, I’ve gradually increased that time to twenty minutes. I’ve also increased the speed to where I’m walking very briskly now.”
The pace at which Ronald has adjusted to both the prosthetic leg and the change in sockets has surprised David. He says Ronald has far exceeded his expectations. Ronald says the same about the care he received from David and his staff.
“I can’t say enough about Dave and all the people at Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics,” Ronald exudes. “They are very, very helpful and very attentive. I can’t imagine anyone being more thorough in terms of meeting your needs.”

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