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Lydette Brubaker: The Gift of Mobility

We have discussed peripheral artery disease and infection at length in previous newsletters. Peripheral artery disease is a medical condition that often leads to an amputation, while infection puts a patient's life at risk and causes enough pain that amputation is a pain reducing solution.  However, it is not often that we see both of these conditions in a single patient.


We first met Lydette Baker after an amputation stemming from peripheral artery disease. After two attempts at a bypass, her left leg was amputated below the knee in May 2012. The leg was ravage by infection, making an above the knee amputation necessary. Lydette's second amputation was completed in July of 2012, giving her relief from the high amount of pain she had been in from the infection.


But the real challenges in Lydette's life presented themselves after her second amputation.


Between not being able to drive for a year, losing her husband and working to regain her independence, Lydette had to work through physical pain and the mental block of having an amputation. Accepting this fact and treating others well has helped her through the challenges she's faced so far.


"Don't badmouth people or have a negative attitude. Accept what has happened," Lydette said. "You can't change it, so accept it and move on from it."


One of the many blessings of having a prosthesis for Lydette is that she is out of her wheelchair. She enjoys seeing people at eye level, being able to mingle and go to the grocery. Since receiving her Ossur Rheo 3 knee in October, Lydette feels her control and balance improved. With all her recent success, Lydette hasn't forgotten what it's like living in the aftermath of an amputation.  Her biggest piece of advice is to trust the professionals you go to for care, just like she did with the staff at Optimus.


"My success, my progress; I wouldn't be where I am without Optimus," Lydette said. "They treat me like a queen.  Jim came out and worked with my physical therapist.   The people at Optimus listen and want to hear from me.  I get personalized care from knowledgeable professionals.  They resolve my issues.  I would definitely recommend anyone that happens to have an amputation to go to Optimus." 

Winter Skin Care 

Drier air and colder temperatures make skin care even more important during the winter months.


Skin care is an important aspect of any amputee's daily routine. The skin on a residual limb is under constant friction with the prosthetic socket and liner. Moisture can also collect in the tiny space between a residual limb and the liner or prosthetic socket.


Amputees should be on the watch for redness in their skin, the first sign of skin breakdown. As winter also brings drier air, it can dry out the skin of the residual limb, making it more susceptible to cracks, cuts, blisters and sores. When these occur, a prosthesis becomes painful to wear and an infection can develop.


As a reminder, be sure you are doing the following things to prevent skin breakdown during the winter:

  • Checking your residual limb throughout the day for redness
  • Prepare for changes in residual limb size throughout the day by having a variety of liners and socks in different thicknesses
  • Continuing to eat a healthy and well balanced diet to get the nutrients your body needs
  • Rinse and wash your liner with hot water and antibacterial soap every day
  • Wash your residual limb daily with warm water and soap, and gently pat dry
  • Use softening cream for your residual limb if you notice the skin is dry and at risk for cracking
If you have any other specific questions regarding skin care in the winter or any time of the year, you can ask your Optimus practitioner for tips. 
Ted Brown: The Greatest Gift

At Optimus, we believe in going the extra mile for our patients, and one of the most rewarding experiences for all of us is when we see our patients be able to get well again and get back to their lives. One of the patients in our Columbus office that we were able to join on this journey to wellness was Ted Brown.


When we first met Ted, he was in the ICU at St. Ann's Hospital and was very, very ill. The rehab director at St. Ann's called us because Ted's liner and prosthetic were so worn out that parts of it were literally being held together with duct tape. Ted had just moved to Ohio and was miles away from family and friends. We were called to meet with Ted to see what we could do to help.


When Ted was 14 years old, he was playing on his high school's basketball team and got hurt. At the time, he didn't think it was any big deal, but when he went in to get treatment for his injury, he learned that there was much more to it. At 14 years old, he learned that he had bone cancer (osteogenic sarcoma). Eventually, this bone cancer would cause Ted to have to have his leg amputated below his knee.


Two of the first things that stand out to anyone who meets Ted are his positive attitude and his smile.


"My faith, family, and friends help me to keep a positive outlook," Ted said. "Being thankful I am alive and have a long life ahead keeps me grounded."


Ted has been through a lot, but he takes it all in stride. He talks candidly about the fact that there are challenges that he has faced since becoming an amputee. The biggest challenge for him was adapting to and learning how to do everyday day tasks (like exercising, showering, etc).


However, the biggest lesson that Ted says he has learned is "that I can live a complete, fulfilled, and active life." Ted's advice to anyone facing amputation surgery is to "not be afraid, embrace it.  Understand that you have the power over your amputation don't let it limit you."


"I'm very grateful for all of the work and support that the Optimus team provides me," Ted said. "We have a lasting relationship that I feel blessed to have. I would absolutely recommend Optimus Prosthetics to anyone needing prosthetic care!"


As Ted points out, the privilege of joining our patients in their journey to wellness is one that we do not take for granted. We are with our patients every step of the way through the good days and the bad days. We get to know our patients and build a relationship with them, and the joy we feel when we see our patients reach their goals is unable to be put into words. It is truly the greatest gift we could ever receive.

Jim's Corner
Preventing Problems in Prosthetic Swing- "Kick the Clinician's Foot" Exercise


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.


When the patient is able to achieve good prosthetic stance disengagement for the prosthetic swing, the next potential set of problems could be:

  • poor prosthetic swing
  • stubbing the prosthetic toe
  • failure to achieve terminal swing  
  • poor prosthetic foot placement


All of these issues can lead to a fall. Another thing I have noticed is that a fall can get set in motion several steps before it actually happens. So how do I work on these potential problems? I like to break things down to simpler components to aid the patient in mastery.


Let's look a one way to help the patient in learning how to get their prosthetic foot out in front for terminal swing.


 "Kick the Clinician's Foot"

When a patient is experiencing difficulty with advancing the prosthetic foot either by an insufficient prosthetic swing or stubbing the prosthetic foot/toe, this is a good exercise to help learn how to get the prosthesis out in front for a good swing phase of their prosthetic gait.


The clinician will place their foot in front of the patient, and the patient is to kick the clinician's foot with their prosthesis. To start this drill, have the patient stand up in the parallel bars or a stable object for the required assistance and safety. From the standing position:


  1. Step forward with the prosthetic limb about half of step length and place the prosthetic foot on the ground.
  2. Step forward with the sound limb full a step length (prosthetic stance) loading the prosthetic toe (hopefully). A step through gait is required to achieve a terminal stance and watch to make sure it is not a step to gait.
  3. Step forward with the prosthesis and kick the prosthetic foot into the clinician's foot.
  4. Stop and then repeat the process.




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


Course #1

C- 12/9, Arbors of Delaware, 12 p.m.


Course #2

D- 12/2, Liberty of Beavercreek, 12 p.m.


D- 12/8, Springmeade, 12 p.m.


Course #3

D- 12/5, Clinton Memorial, 12 p.m.


Course #4

D- 12/3, Eaglewood Springfield, 12 p.m.


D- 12/9, Quaker Heights, 12 p.m.


D- 12/10, Huber Heights Health Care, 12 p.m.


D-12/12, Resthaven, 12 p.m.


D- 12/19, Springfield Manor, 12 p.m.


D- 12/29, Hospitality Homes, 12 p.m.


C- 12/30, Columbus Colony Elderly Care, 12 p.m.



Course #5

C- 12/2, Franklin Woods, 12 p.m.


C- 12/16, Select Specialty Hospital, 12 p.m.


D- 12/31, Southview Rehab, 12:15 p.m.


Course #6

C- 12/9, Kindred of Newark, 12 p.m.


D- 12/22, Sienna Woods, 12 p.m.


Course #7

D- 12/15, MVH Rehab, 12:30 p.m.


Course #8

D- 12/4, Wilson Memorial, 12 p.m.


Course #9

D- 12/2 Beavercreek Health, 12:15 p.m.


Course #10

D- 12/11, Carriage Inn, 12 p.m.


D- 12/17, Crestview, 12 p.m.


D- 12/18, Wilson Memorial, 12 p.m.

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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