Athletes & Prosthetics
Richard L Kaderli
kaderli at juno.com
Wed Apr 14 21:13:05 PDT 1999
I saw a Wilkerson leg and talked to this amp who gave me Wilkerson's
address. I was impressed because the suspension was radical and this guy
was booking down the street faster than I could catch him and then he got
on a mountain bike and rode. He showed me how easy this system was to
take on and off and keep clean. No liner, no pin, fit so good no sleeve
needed, just an inner silicone or nylon piece that held the stump in the
socket. Easy airflow(especially this guy in shorts) and no skin trouble.
I have been trying to talk to others who have this system and also find
out if Wilkerson is patenting it for others to make. I'd appreciate an
e-mail for Wilkerson anybody.
"Prosthetists will try it, and if they don't fit it right and it fails,
they'll go back to their old methods and old materials," says Wayne
Wilkerson, CP, a prosthetist with Southern California Orthotics &
Prosthetics (SCOPe) of San Diego. Wilkerson, who is known throughout the
world for his fitting techniques, has patients who come from as far away
as South Africa.
[Richard Kaderli---I believe you have worked with Mr. Wilkerson?] WR
Other new technology includes mechanical components made of carbon
fiber, titanium and other metal alloys; silicone suspension sleeves that
hold the prosthesis on instead of straps or belts; and liners made of
silicone, tri-block polymer or urethane. Typically, foam liners and
socks are used for cushioning. But socks thin and stretch, while foam
liners compact and wear out. Wilkerson developed his own silicone liner
that provides tremendous protection and padding for life.
All these advancements vastly improve the fit and comfort of prostheses,
avoiding the blisters, circulation problems and infections that are
common with traditional legs. Equally important, they add strength and
durability to the design and significantly lighten the load for wearers.
Many of these cutting-edge prostheses look just as high-tech as they
really are, a fact that Wilkerson tries to play up, not down. He says he
always tries to persuade his patients to wear their prostheses without
lifelike cosmetic covers.
"These people have a statement to make," Wilkerson says. "They need to
tell the world what they're capable of doing with their prosthesis!"
He points to the November 1996 Life Magazine photo of his patient Aimee
Mullins in her starting blocks during the Paralympics in Atlanta. The
photo is a close-up that shows her in "set" position, fingers on the
ground, her two prosthetic legs curving a broad-backward arch before
coming to rest on the track. It is a startling but powerful image that
conveys more than words ever could."
Also, I too have a hard time with the athletic imagery and am impressed
with those to whom amputation is a mere lifestyle adjustment. While I was
still healing from surgery my Aunt sent me an article about a Marine who
wanted to stay a Marine after a BK and they made him take the obstacle
course and run. He opened up sutures and poured a pint of blood out of
his socket but by god he stayed a Marine! Well, she meant well. People
often do who have encouraged me to make no big thing out of it. I
usually begin my reply with "You do not know the meaning of pain."
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