Problem Solvers

Socket adjustment allows for pain-free, comfortable fit.

There isn’t much about the horrific motorcycle accident that forever altered his life that John Hartley can remember. As for the disabling aftermath, the recently retired 64-year-old production manager is reminded of that every minute of every day.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

John Hartley

“The accident happened in 2010,” John relates. “Some kid hit me while I was on my motorcycle, and I wound up with a crushed pelvis, a femur that was broken in half and a broken right tibia.”

The latter of those three injuries was irreparable and resulted in the amputation of John’s right leg just below the knee joint. John now wears a prosthesis on that leg, but that hasn’t slowed him down much.

“I ride a road bike on local trails most every day, and when the weather’s good, I’ll get in a good twenty miles,” John reports. “I also work out about six days a week at the gym, so I’ve been able to move on pretty well from the accident.”

In moving on, John has put a lot of wear and tear on his prosthesis, which he received from a national distributor. That distributor also serviced John’s prosthesis until a couple years ago, when it was unable to solve a nagging and painful problem.

“For the first six years I had the prosthesis, everything was fine,” John relates. “Then I started to have problems with it. After wearing it for about a half an hour, it became so uncomfortable, I couldn’t stand to have it on anymore.

“You know how your arm feels after you sleep on it, where you wake up and it feels numb and like you’re being stabbed with needles? That’s how my leg felt. The people servicing it tried figuring out why that was happening but could never put a finger on it.

“They tried creating different sockets for me and padding it in different ways, but nothing worked, so eventually, I decided to go to Sonlife and see what they could do for me.”

Customized Design

At Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics, David S. Goris, CPO, LPO, specializes in designing, building and fitting prostheses and orthoses based on each patient’s individual needs. It took David a while to figure it out, but what he eventually learned is that John requires a specially designed socket, which is the shell that encases the lowest portion of what remains of his leg.

“Each amputee is unique,” David explains. “What works for one person does not work for everyone, so our goal was to find the best fit for John. Now, there are a couple of different ways to hold a prosthesis on. One is a gel liner with a locking mechanism. That’s what John had, but it wasn’t working for him. So we went with a suction socket that suspends John’s prosthesis with suction or vacuum.

“We also found that John doesn’t like a super-tight fit. His limb needs room to move, so his prosthesis fits a little loose, and he wears a varying number of socks around the residuum to give him a little more comfort.”

Comfort is exactly what John got from the fitting he had at Sonlife. He says David worked tirelessly in rectifying the problem and succeeded far beyond his expectations.

“My new socket gives me the leeway to put a little more padding in there, and that has made all the difference in the world for me,” John enthuses. “It’s allowed me to get back to being active the way I want to be.

“I was afraid I might have to give some of that stuff up, but Dave at Sonlife listened to what I had to say and solved the issue. We worked as a team to fix the problem, and Dave is a good guy to have on your team.”

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