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Applications Still Available for 2014 Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp
This camp is an amazing experience for kids ages 10-17 living with an amputation or limb difference. The application deadline is March 14, so go here to fill out an application for your child today!

Aimee Eckert: Building a Life of Strength and Advocacy


In June of last year we introduced you to Aimee Eckert, an Optimus patient whose life was changed when the car she was driving was hit by a driver going 75 mph and texting. The results: Aimee was in an induced coma for two weeks, the baby she had been carrying for six months died, she broke every bone in her body except for her neck and back, and her left leg was eventually amputated. 


Aimee Bishop


Since we first brought you Aimee's story, a lot of positive things have happened in her life. She's now married, and after putting in hours of work with her prosthesis, has returned to working full time. This isn't to say there haven't been challenges, however.


When asked about her biggest obstacles, Aimee said, "Building my muscles and strength back up. The prosthetist can make you the most perfect, well-fitting leg, but you are the one who has to put the effort in.  If you don't work at it on your own...you'll never walk to the best of your ability."


That strong work ethic and positive attitude is part of what led to her new position - as a Patient Advocate for Optimus Prosthetics!  Aimee's role   fills a critical need. She visits with new patients, encouraging them and giving them as much hope as possible. While the work can be physically demanding at times, Aimee said helping patients also helps lift her up and get her through her own difficult times.


"Spiritually, I am lifted up so much by this company and the people - so while it may be difficult on the outside, on the inside it's building me up every day!" Aimee said. "And physically, it's getting easier every day."


Aimee's journey, from her accident through 16 surgeries, recovery, learning to walk again and helping others who are going through those same things have brought her to a revelation that may be surprising to many people: when she considers her life before amputation,she likes being an amputee better.


"The people I've met - the people in my Amputee Support Group, the people at Optimus, the patients - all of these wonderful people would not be in my life if it weren't for the amputation," Aimee said. "I'm able to advocate, to make a difference. People need to know the challenges we face- the government needs to know, and I have an opportunity to make them known."


Aimee said she wouldn't be where she is without the help of Optimus. "I wouldn't have been able to walk down the aisle at my wedding, to drive, to work...I can't help but get emotional about it". Everyone at Optimus Prosthetics is so proud of Aimee and how she has made a new life for herself, one that allows her to use her experience to offer hope and be a voice for those who need it.


If you are a prosthetic-wearer and need someone to talk to about your experience, don't hesitate to contact Aimee at 937-454-1900, or aeckert@optimusprosthetics.com.  She would love to hear your story and offer any support she can. 


The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi


The Winter Olympics are over and done with, right? The closing ceremonies wrapped up the 22nd Olympic Winter Games, and now we should all shift our attention to the late stages of the college basketball season. Or should we? If we did, we wouldn't be able to see amazing athletes competing for the United States on an international stage.


2014 Paralympic Winter Games

The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games begin March 7 in Sochi, using the same venues as last month's Olympic Games, but shining the spotlight on a different kind of Olympian. While there are many sports that sound similar - alpine skiing, biathlon and cross country skiing - there are also some events many of us will see for the first time, such as sled hockey and wheelchair curling.


Seeing the Paralympic Games will be easier than ever this year. In an attempt to further the Paralympic Movement, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) partnered with NBC, the same network that aired this year's Olympic Games, to provide television coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network.


"It is a very exciting time for the Paralympic Movement," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "I am confident that this group of talented athletes is going to represent our country well both on and off the ice and snow."


Team USA is also fielding the largest team - 74 athletes with six guides for visually impaired athletes - the United States has ever sent to a Paralympic Games. This coincides with the growth of opportunities for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes across the U.S. Team USA consists of:

  • 22 women and 58 men
  • A seven-time Paralympian
  • A five-time Paralympian
  • Four four-time Paralympians, eight three-time Paralympians and 18 two-time Paralympians
  • 18 team members who have represented the U.S.  as military veterans and active duty service members
  • Three mothers and 15 fathers


These athletes have trained phenomenally hard for their ability to represent their country on an international stage, just like the athletes at last month's Olympic Games. Optimus Prosthetics hopes everyone tunes in to see these courageous men and women in action, whether you're simply showing your patriotism or looking for inspiration. 

Jim's Corner
Prosthetic Weight Bearing


Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PT

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 the last several months we have been reviewing principles of the "building blocks" required for the development of efficient prosthetic gait. Some building blocks we have already touched on are:


1)     Establishing a pre-prosthetic home exercise program (HEP). Remember that contractures are the most common preventable complication post amputation.

2)     Establishing residual limb extension

3)     Introduction of  prosthetic weight shifting

4)     Introduction of prosthetic balance


This month we are going to talk about the next "building block," the introduction of prosthetic weight bearing. This block is one of the most important requirements for our patients. We need to remember the elements of gravity, the ground reaction forces, the lower extremity roles of closed chain (weight bearing) loading and unloading, and movement.  Proper prosthetic weight bearing is required for good prosthetic stance, sound limb swing and a soft landing of the sound limb at initial contact/heel strike. Improper prosthetic weight bearing results in multiple gait deviations. If the patient does not learn the elements of good prosthetic stance, they will always struggle with their prosthetic gait.  Below I have listed the box tap exercise, something every amputee patient should be doing either in therapy or at home. I like to call it the "box tap" because I have found that when I call it "stool stepping" some patients think it is a forward step up exercise.


Forward Box Taps

(This is NOT a Forward Step Up Exercise!)

The patient is to try to stand evenly on both legs with a stable object for assistance and safety. Place an object like a small step stool or box in front. The patient is to stand on the prosthesis and attempt to gently place the sound limb up onto the stool or box in a slow, controlled manner (pause if needed) then return to the standing position. Try to concentrate on keeping the hips even with each other, pelvis level and not leaning over the prosthetic limb. Maintaining a backward force within the socket will help to maintain stability. Repeat 5-15 times, of 1-3 sets.



When a small box is safely mastered and no longer a challenge, the patient can progress to:

  • A larger box
  • A much slower speed to focus on stance ability
  • Use one hand or no hands for assistance
  • Stand on a compliant surface


There may be difficulty moving the sound side limb in a slow, controlled manner and maintaining balance over the prosthesis. A slow step with the box tap will simulate the skills required for proper stance in overall gait, which is required for sound limb swing. A slow step (box tap) will help the patient develop skills needed to establish an equal stride length during walking. Proper prosthetic stance is also required for normalized gait and loading the prosthetic toe for toe clearance among other things. These skills are also required for an equal step/stride length during proper gait.  


Lateral Box Taps

This is NOT a Lateral Step Up Exercise!

Lateral box taps are a progression from forward box taps for more advanced patients. The patient is to stand evenly on both legs with a stable object for the required assistance and safety. Place an object like a small step stool or box laterally to the side. The patient stands on the prosthesis and attempts to gently place the sound limb up onto stool or box in a slow, controlled manner (pause if needed) then return to the standing position. Try to concentrate on keeping the hips even with each other, pelvis level and do not lean way over the prosthetic limb. Maintaining a backward force within the socket will help to maintain stability. Repeat 5-15 times. Do 1-3 sets.


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


Completing Course #1 - "Amputation & Prosthetic Overview"


D - 3/6/2014 - Heartland of Bellefontaine - 12:15


C - 3/12/2014 - Minerva Park - 12:00


D - 3/17/2014 - Blackstone - 9:00 am


C - 3/31/2014 - Ohio Rehabilitation Hospital - 12:00


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


D - 3/3/2014 - Mercy Sienna - 12:00


D - 3/21/2014 - Friendship Village - 12:00


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


D - 3/5/2014 - Dayspring - 12:30


C - 3/14/2014 - The Rehab and Health Center of Gahanna - 12:00


D - 3/19/2014 - Good Samaritan Hospital - 12:00


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


C - 3/11/2014 - Bryden Place - 12:00


D - 4/2/2014 - Miami Valley Hospital - 12:30 


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


C - 3/4/2014 - Isabell Ridgway - 12:30


D - 3/10/2014 - Cypress Pointe - 12:00


D - 3/13/2014 - Laurels of Shane Hill - 12:00


C - 3/25/2014 - New Albany Gardens and Care Center - 12:00


D - 3/26/2014 - Springfield Regional Excel Outpatient Clinic - 12:00


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


D - 3/19/2014 - Bethany Village - 12:15


D - 4/3/2014 - Kettering Medical Center - 12:00


Course #7 - "Upper-Limb Prosthetics"


C - 3/27/2014 - St. Ann's Rehab - 12:00 


Course #8 - Prosthetic Advances


D - 3/13/2014 - Mount Pleasant Rehab Studio - 12:00


D - 3/20/2014 - Otterbein by Atrium - 12:00


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


D - 3/12/2014 - Pinnacle Point - 12:00


Course #10 - "Microprocessor Controlled Knees"


No courses 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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