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Andy Potts: Recovery Through Positivity

Andy's story started when he stubbed one of his toes, something that happens to many people every day. Unfortunately, that toe ended up getting badly infected.


"I walked into the ER Monday morning, and my doctor told me they could try to debride the wound," Andy said. "However, he could not promise that it would be successful. My other option was amputation. Peggy [my wife] and I prayed about the situation, and we felt okay with going through with the amputation."


Learning to adjust to this "new life" was not easy for Andy in the beginning, and the biggest battle he fought was mental. It was easy for him to get overwhelmed when looking at all the things that were different in his life. He chose to accept the challenges with help and support from his family, his friends, and "most importantly, God."


A patient at the Columbus Optimus Prosthetics office, Andy chose to surround himself with positive people in his recovery. It has been this support group and his fantastic attitude that have helped him the most. When you are faced with a life changing event or decision, Andy said, "you either accept it or regret it."


Andy said he has learned three big life lessons throughout his limb loss journey. First, "Do anything and everything! Try to figure out a way to do what you thought you couldn't." Andy figured out how to redo his deck, reorganize his garage and even mow his grass while still being in a wheelchair and using crutches!


Andy's second lesson: Trust! "Trust yourself, trust your friends and family, and most important trust God."


Andy's third "big lesson" ties into his first. When facing a new challenge, "Don't worry about, 'Can I do it?' or 'Should I do it?' Just go. Try it! Stay active and do something every day."


Andy's advice for others thinking about an amputation is simple. "You have to consider the consequences of not having amputation. Ask yourself, 'Will I be healthy? Will I be able to do the things I want to do in life?'" If the answer is no, then amputation is the right decision.


Andy's major goal when he got his prosthesis was "to walk so well that no one would even know I was an amputee" not to hide his amputation, but rather to be an example of how hard work can help you achieve anything.


Andy has faced many difficulties in his journey. However, as his persistence and hard work prove, amputation is not the end of the story; it is just the beginning of a new chapter.

Optimus Prosthetics in Columbus: One Year Later

In January of 2013, Optimus Prosthetics opened its Columbus office with two employees and only two patients. The office now proudly serves over 70 patients in the area and has increased the size of its staff to include Prosthetic Resident, Jason Bender and Gait Specialist, Jim Scharf, PTA. We talked with Clinical Manager Tim Riedlinger, CPO, to give us an overview of how the first year has gone. We also spoke with Office Assistant Kristilyn Stein and patient Bob Haas to get their highlights of the office's first year.


What has bringing Optimus Prosthetics to Columbus meant to you, personally?

Tim: It has been truly wonderful being able to open up an office in Columbus.  I am so excited to be able to bring the same excellent, patient-centered care that our Optimus patients enjoy in our Dayton office to the Columbus area.


Can you share a highlight from the past year?

Kristilyn: I will never forget witnessing my first delivery appointment. I saw the mix of joy and nervous anticipation in our patient's face before he got to put on his newly finished leg for the first time. The powerful image of seeing this same patient who came into his delivery appointment in a wheelchair now walking out of the appointment pushing his wheelchair is an image I will never forget.


How have you benefited from choosing Optimus Prosthetics?

Bob: When I switched to Optimums Prosthetics, the replacement prosthetic limb I received was so prefect that my thoughts went from thinking about what I can't do to focusing on the infinite possibilities of what I can do with my Optimus-fitted device.


What does Optimus bring to Columbus in terms of prosthetic care that sets us apart?

Tim: We are with our patients every single step of their journey, from pre-op visits all the way through their healing process and beyond. We are all about building life-long relationships with our patients.


We know that Tim, Kristilyn and the entire Columbus staff look forward to providing patients like Bob the service and care they need to achieve the quality of life they want. We are greatly looking forward to 2014 and all the opportunities that come with a new year. 

Jim's Corner
Prosthetic Weight Shifting, Part 1


Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA

The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpful information and be a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn to use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.



For this month's column I would like to address the next important concept for a new prosthetic patient to learn and master: prosthetic weight shifting. Due to gravity and the ground reaction forces, the patient will usually have to re-learn the skills of proper weight shifting onto and off of their lower extremities, specifically:


1.Shifting their body weight onto the prosthesis for prosthetic weight bearing. This is required for proper prosthetic stance and sound limb swing.

2.Shifting their body weight off of the prosthesis onto the sound limb for prosthetic limb swing.


To teach the patient these skills, I have combined a series of exercises that I learned a long time ago with other pelvic/weight-shifting exercises into a "pelvic driver" series of exercises.  Pelvic drivers are a good way to re-establish the body's ability to control the center of mass (COM) over the base of support (BOS).  To help the patient, I have them think of the pelvis as a bucket. The start and end position for each exercise is the pelvic bucket in the middle, directly above the feet and directly below the shoulders, standing still in a quiet stance (no swaying). Patients are most successful in the frontal plane so side to side is the best place to start.


Weight Shifting Pelvic Driver, Side to Side (active):

Starting at home base, move the pelvic bucket away from home base out to the outside of the prosthetic limb and return. Then, move the pelvic bucket away from home base out to the outside of the sound limb and return. It is OK to pause if needed to re-establish "home base".

Perform 5-15 times.


Weight Shifting Pelvic Driver, Side to Side (resisted):

Most patients are generally very good shifting their body weight over onto the sound limb, but not very good shifting over onto the prosthesis. When teaching the patient how to shift their weight onto the prosthesis or how to bear weight on the prosthesis, do not pull or push the patient onto the prosthetic side. By pushing from the sound side we are only encouraging a bad weight shifting pattern. Instead, place a hand on the prosthetic side pelvis (lateral), push patient off and away from the prosthetic side onto their sound side limb. Then have them push into your hand toward the prosthetic side and onto the prosthetic limb. As the patient pushes into the hand we are encouraging a proper weight shift that they are initiating through the manual resistance. 



More weight shifting exercises will be covered next month in part 2 of this topic, so be sure to give it a read in the January Newsletter!



Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist

Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at: jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.

In This Issue

D = Dayton Area

C = Columbus Area


The Staff of Optimus Prosthetics would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 


Optimus Prosthetics Holiday Schedule:

Christmas Eve - Open 8:00 am - 12:00

Christmas Day - CLOSED

New Year's Eve - Open 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

New Year's Day - CLOSED


Completing Course #1 - "Amputation & Prosthetic Overview"


C - Minerva Park Nursing and Rehab - 12/12 - 12:00


Completing Course #2 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetics:  Transtibial"


D - Dayspring - 12/18 - 12:30


Completing Course #3 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetics:  Transfemoral"


C - Columbus West Park 12/10 - 12:00


D - Southview Hospital - 12/17 - 12:00


C - Centerburg Pointe - 12/18 - 12:00


C - McNaughten Pointe - 12/19 - 12:00  


Course #4 - "Lower Extremity Amputee/Prosthetic Evaluation & Outcomes Measures"


D - Hillspring - 12/9 - 12:15


C - New Albany Gardens and Care Center - 12/10 - 12:00


D - Reid Hospital - 12/11 - 12:00


Course #5 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetic Gait Training"


No classes scheduled


Course #6 - "Lower-Limb Prosthetic Gait Deviations"


D - Forestview - 12/06 - 12:00


D - Residence at Kensington Place- 12/18 - 12:00


Course #7 - "Upper-Limb Prosthetics"


D - Mount Pleasant Rehab Studio - 12/12 - 12:30


D - Springmeade - 12/16 - 12:00


Course #8 - Prosthetic Advances


D - Hospitality Homes - 12/23 - 12:00


Course #9 - "Partial Foot, Ankle/Knee/Hip Disarticulation, & Transpelvic Prosthetics"


D - Kettering Neuro Balance and Rehab - 12/19 - 12:00


Course #10 - "Microprocessor Controlled Knees"


No classes scheduled

Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900


Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 

(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

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