Lounging by the pond or waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom arent what most able-bodied individuals would consider to be complicated tasks, but for bilateral amputees, the process of changing into their prostheses for these activities can be cumbersome. For injured soldiers a record number reported major leg amputations in 2011 the transition back to civilian life also includes learning how to manage their new limbs.
Prior to the start of the conflict there wasnt a large bilateral amputee population, and their level of care typically conclude with an adaptable wheelchair, Dave Laufer, director of orthotic and prosthetic service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, told FoxNews.com. But as more soldiers returned home with missing extremities, Laufer and his squad were inundated with requests for something better than what was available.
When you and I go home from run you take your shoe off, Dave Laufer, director of orthotic and prosthetic service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, told FoxNews.com. An amputee shoe is attached to his leg. When bilateral amputees take their shoes off theyre now sitting on a chair and theyre stuck.
To stand upright for any chore, amputees first have to roll a liner onto their residual limb, put on the prosthetic socket, then attach their prosthetic extremity before standing up on both feet to ensure stability of the fit before walking again.
Its not a real comfy process, Laufer said.
Soldiers began turning to shorty feet, which were originally introduced to help amputees learn how to bear weight on their residual extremities. Shorty feet eilimate the necessity of achieving liners and attachments, as they are specifically designed to fit the skin of the soldier’s remaining limbs. Watching the success of others in physical therapy, Laufer began receiving requests for more pairs from soldiers looking for an easy way to hang around the house.
One of the early pairs is believed to have been ordered for a soldier who are seeking to relax around the pool on his honeymoon without having to worry about getting his prosthetics wet. Others use them to play with their children around the house or simply as a route to perform a task in the middle of the night without having to ask others for help.
To get an ideal prosthetic, Laufer and his team turned to another department at Walter Reed headed by Dr. Peter Liacouras, director of services in the 3-D Medical Applications Center. Liacouras received the order and after deliberation with Laufer and other staff members, 3-D published the shorty feet in titanium alloy.
Its titanium alloy, Liacouras told Foxnews.com. We have a printer here that will use an electron-B melting process to publish layer by layer out of titanium powder, ” Liacouras told FoxNews.com. “Weve done over 70 pairs of shorty feet.
The shorty feet prototype design underwent several remodeling processes, including the addition of a padded bottom to act as a sole of the foot. A military insignia can also be etched onto the model to indicate which branch a soldier has served in.
A civilian prosthetic company ensure the success of shorty feet and began fabricating a version of them, which helps lighten the workload for Liacouras staff.
While shorty feet can provide the independence that some returning soldiers crave, they can also be a stepping stone for others on their route to recovery. Army Sgt. Adam Keys, 32, started strolling on shorty feet before learning how to walking with another pair of prosthetic limbs.
On July 14, 2010, the vehicle Keys was traveling in through Kandahar, Afghanistan, hit an improvised explosive device( IED .) The blast expense Keys his left arm and both legs above the knee. He has since undergone more than 130 surgeries, meaning the shape, size and weight of his residual extremities have changed repeatedly, involving numerous adjustments to his prosthetics.