The Best Fit

Patient now walks easily, thanks to new prosthesis.

Claire Creighton could barely walk into her doctor’s office. She was hobbling and leaning on a cane. It was painful for her to move. The socket for her below-the-knee prosthesis didn’t fit properly. It rubbed against her residual limb, enough to cause skin ulcerations.

Patient Claire Creighton fitted with new below-the-knee prosthesis by David S. Goris, CPO, at Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics.

With her new, well-fitting
prosthesis, Claire has returned to activities
she enjoys.

Claire, who is diabetic, lost the lower part of her leg after surgery to correct Charcot foot, a syndrome related to nerve damage.

“The surgery went well but my foot never regained circulation,” she says about what led to the amputation of her lower leg and foot three years ago.

Prosthetic limbs typically must be replaced every two to four years or because of changes in weight or the size and shape of the residual limb. It was clear Claire needed a new prosthesis so she could walk without pain and return to the activities she enjoyed.

Her doctor referred her to Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics, where Claire consulted prosthetist-orthotist David S. Goris, CPO.

“When I saw her, she was limping very badly,” recalls David. “The prosthesis was not fitting well at all. She tried to make it more comfortable by adding a large amount of prosthetic socks. But it didn’t matter how many she added, she didn’t feel any better.” Her residual limb had changed in shape and size.

“The residual limb will usually change the most within the first year after amputation,” educates David. “As it matures, it generally shrinks. Sometimes, you can add padding to the prosthesis, but at some point, that no longer works.”

When Claire met with David, she immediately liked his manner and how he answered all her questions.

“David listens to you, answers all of your questions and explains everything. He takes his time and doesn’t make you feel rushed,” she explains. “Like anything that’s new, the process of getting a new limb can be kind of frightening, but David is very patient and wonderful to work with. He makes you feel confident that he will create the right fit.”

The staff at Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics also helped her feel that she was in good hands. “The whole staff is great to work with. Everybody there is kind and caring,” she describes.

Enjoying life again

David fabricated Claire’s new prosthesis with a better-fitting socket and suspension mechanism. It also features an upgraded foot. His goal for all patients is for them to have prostheses that allow them to pursue the lifestyle they want and activities they enjoy.

“The foot in Claire’s original prosthesis didn’t allow her to do what she wanted to do,” notes David. “There is a lot of variety in prosthetic feet. For instance, some work better than others for people who spend time outdoors on uneven ground, like in the woods or at a lake. A foot for a runner will be a bit different than a foot made just for walking.”

Before her surgery, Claire liked to hike in the hills of Virginia, where she lived before retiring to Florida. She doesn’t plan on tackling hills again, but is now able to spend time enjoying the outdoors.

On a recent vacation, she enjoyed a stroll on a beach in North Carolina. Back home in Florida, she likes to walk around her neighborhood with her husband and their two miniature Italian greyhounds.

Her new goal is to take up fishing on piers and charter boats. “I couldn’t have done that with the old prosthesis because I wasn’t able to stand up for very long,” she relates.

Claire is still astounded by her new prosthesis and how it has improved her life.

“I think I’m making people crazy telling them how good my leg feels now and how much I can walk,” she says. “I don’t need a cane. I used to keep the weight off that leg, but I really don’t need to now.

“It’s incredible. I can now exercise and get around without pain.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo by Jordan Pysz.
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