Archive: February, 2011

AK Amputee in a Nike Commercial

Sarah Reinertsen shows her stuff in a Nike commercial!

Above knee amputee super athlete Sarah Reinertsen is in a Nike commercial. Very cool!

Nike Women Throwdown Anthem

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Disabled Sports

Feeling adventurous? Check out the Disabled Sports USA Far West (Lake Tahoe) website. They have an excellent adaptive ski program at Alpine Meadows, as well as several adaptive sports programs throughout the year.

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Jamie (AK)

Jamie had always been a strong person, up for any challenge, and one day almost three years ago she was forced to put that strength to the test. ”On July 30, 2008, I was involved in a motorcycle accident,” recalls Jamie. “After spending 30 days in the hospital and undergoing three surgeries, the doctors were able to save my leg. It
had been severely broken though, and was reconstructed using two plates and multiple screws. A year passed and it was still not healing, so that’s when I made the decision to amputate my left leg.”

Jamie’s leg was amputated above the knee on October 14, 2009, but her spirit remained strong, and just two weeks later she was back to working 12-18 hour shifts as a college instructor! Less than two months after that she took her first steps using a prosthetic leg after spending a year and a half on crutches.

But six months later, Jamie was frustrated. “I was still experiencing intense phantom pain and had difficulty working the long shifts my teaching position required.” Not being the sort of person who takes difficult circumstances lying down, Jamie took the bull by the horns and began to search for solutions. In the summer of 2010 a friend she had met in an amputee peer support group referred her to SCP.

Jamie noticed an immediate improvement in her level of comfort after being fit with her first test socket. Fine tuning continued while the volume of her residual limb stabilized. When it was time to choose components for Jamie’s new prosthesis we asked what features/activities were most important to her. She definitely wanted to be able to wear high heeled shoes (she had a wardrobe of them gathering dust in her closet), so we chose an adjustable heel foot for her prosthesis.

In August 2010, although still in a test socket, Jamie felt confident enough to wear her prosthesis all day/night long to the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) convention in Irvine, CA—and she did it with style! Jamie wore high heels for the first time since her accident!!! A local TV news station even filmed her feet as she walked around the convention center floor and ran the video on their 11pm broadcast. The delight was evident on Jamie’s face when her boyfriend arrived later that evening and saw her rocking those shoes!

Today, Jamie is walking comfortably and confidently. She’s an ACA certified peer visitor and active in the amputee community. She no longer has to limit her activities due to limb and/or socket pain. ”Now I can wear my leg for up to 18 hours a day, and if I’m wearing pants it surprises people (even other amputees) when I tell them that I am an amputee!”

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Don (Bilateral AK/BK)

When we met Don he was a man on a mission. Don, a bilateral amputee, was wounded while on his tour of duty in Vietnam when he stepped on a landmine and lost both his legs, one above the knee and the other below. A series of surgeries and skin grafts left him with a lot of scar tissue and residual limb pain.

After months of rehabilitation Don learned to walk on prostheses but the nature of his amputations made getting a good fit almost impossible. Standing and walking were very painful activities for him and would quickly cause his skin to tear, forcing him to return to his wheelchair. Fortunately, Don’s great spirit remained intact as he became an avid wheelchair sports competitor and met and married the love of his life, Scheryl.

One day Scheryl was discussing Don’s prosthetic history with a friend of hers who suggested he try the new technology at Southern California Prosthetics. Don and Scheryl, who had learned to accept Don’s reliance on a wheelchair for mobility, were wary of getting their hopes up about prostheses, but they decided to try anyway.

The moment Don put on his new legs for the first time erased any doubt about what he would accomplish with them. His determination and enthusiasm are infectious to all the people he meets, and those traits have allowed him to walk pain free for the first time in more then forty years. Wearing the legs daily and exercising with them has increased Don’s strength and endurance while he works towards his next goal of running on prostheses for the first time. The only naysayer has been Scheryl who complains that she can’t keep up with him anymore but still wants to thank SCP for the new “swagger in his step!”

As for Don, he says he feels “like a new man!” Even some longtime friends have failed to recognize him the first time he walked up to say “hi!” Mission Accomplished!

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Andy (BK)

When Andy of Laguna Beach, CA takes his place at the start of a triathlon, he’s thinking how thankful he is to be alive and competing again in the sport he loves. That he participates in this type of event at the age of 72 is impressive enough, but that he does so after losing his leg below the knee a few years ago is nothing short of amazing!
In December 2006 Andy was washing his car in the driveway of his Laguna Beach home when he noticed a laundry delivery van dropping off some dry cleaning a few doors up the hill. A moment later Andy looked up and that same van was rolling toward his car–with the driver running next to it! In the moments that followed, as the van hit his car, Andy recalls having the sensation of flying. “My left hip felt like it was pushed against a wall, and then I was floating. I somewhat landed on my back. I raised my right leg and it was just dangling there, hanging by a little bit of flesh.” He screamed, “I’ve lost my foot, I’ve lost my foot!” Andy’s wife, Jeri, a registered nurse, heard the crash and rushed out of the house but almost wasn’t able to find him in all the confusion. He had been propelled from his driveway all the way to his neighbor’s carport, and the van that had hit his car had come to a rest against the retaining wall. Fortunately he landed on the only patch of dirt in the area, for as the paramedics later explained, if he had landed on the concrete he’d probably be much more severely injured or dead. Andy had sustained extensive damage to his right leg, but he was still alive.

Andy grew up in Newport Beach, playing beach volleyball and bodysurfing. He started running during the early 60s, but did not enter the sport of triathlon until the 1980s. An avid runner, Andy had suffered a nagging injury which left him unable to run great distances and he was looking for another way to maintain his aerobic conditioning. A friend introduced him to cycling. He then connected with a group of tri-athletes who got him into a master’s swim program. Andy’s leg injury healed, but he so enjoyed the training that he decided to take up triathlon.

Because Andy was an athlete, the doctors did their best to save his leg. His ankle was fused and a titanium rod was inserted into his tibia to support it. Two plastic surgeons worked to take a muscle from his left shoulder and transplant it to cover the huge hole from the ankle to calf of his leg. He recovered in the hospital for seven weeks. Unfortunately, during the second week a staph infection set in and never went away, preventing his ankle injury from healing. “They call it a non-union of the fusion,” says Andy. “In July of 2007, the doctors told me then that I should consider amputation.”

As he considered the possibility of amputation during the next few months, Andy did a lot of research on prosthetic limbs and discovered that with the new technology available it was possible for him to return to the sport he loved. Because he had competed in the previous nine, he attended the 10th anniversary of the Pacific Coast Triathlon in September 2007, even though he was still on crutches and battling infection. The event happened to be a fundraiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), and he watched above-knee amputee Sarah Reinertson and other amputees running, cycling and swimming. “I tried to get on my bike and my ankle hurt so bad. I couldn’t put any weight on the leg at all,” Andy recalls. “I had given my leg 14 months to heal and the clock was ticking.” Sarah and another amputee known as “One Arm Willie Stewart” – both Ironman finishers – spent some time talking with Andy and both encouraged him to consider amputation.
The following February, Andy had his leg amputated below the knee. He actually felt relieved; the pain and infection were gone, the wound was healing, and he could focus on his rehabilitation and getting back into the sport of triathlon. “Triathlon is a lifestyle,” says Andy. “It is a part of who I am. Competition, for me, is the process of becoming a whole person again.” So, with the support of his lovely wife, Jeri, Andy set out to do just that!

Andy experienced a few “bumps in the road” when he began competing in triathlons as an amputee. He found that his residual limb was not holding up to the rigors of training and competition, and suffered from agonizing nerve pain. Scout Bassett, a fellow CAF athlete, referred him to the staff at SCP where he was fit with a custom NPS elevated vacuum system and he hasn’t stopped since! “It has been a wonderful experience working with a caring and motivated staff,” says Andy. “My dream of running and competing again has come true.”

Almost four years after his accident, Andy competes regularly in triathlons and participates in fundraising events for challenged athletes. Southern California Prosthetics in Irvine, CA has provided him with the technology he needs—custom cycling, running and swimming legs—but Andy’s hard work and perseverance are what enabled him to compete again when the odds were stacked against him. He says the most rewarding part of competing now is that as an athlete he can demonstrate to other disabled persons what is possible, and inspire them to pursue their own goals.


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Alexus (AK)

When you meet Alexus the first thing you notice is her infectious smile. She just lights up the room with her upbeat personality and style! It’s hard to believe that this bubbly teenager and University student has a limb difference.

Alexus doesn’t remember her life before amputation.  When she was just 9 months old she suddenly became very ill and was rushed to the hospital. When she arrived there she quickly went into a diabetic coma.  That was serious enough, but yet another complication would change her life and her future; a blood clot cut off circulation to her right leg, and in order to save her life the doctors had no choice but to amputate it above the knee.

Over the years she has had plenty of prosthetic legs made, but she says  “there is no comparison between those legs and my current one!” Alexus came to us by way of a chance meeting her Mom (Melba) and a man she met while walking around a track. He was running on a prosthetic leg and  and saw a man running on a prosthesis. She was amazed at how well he ran and asked him for the name of his prosthetic provider. Melba never saw the gentleman again, but is sure that he was an angel sent to help her child.

Now Alexus is well on her way to take on the challenges of her busy college life without worrying about her prosthesis keeping pace with her hectic schedule. “When I walk with my new leg, I feel like it is a part of me. Most people can’t even tell that I am an amputee!”


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New TSA Security Measures

Due to the recent security measures that have been put in place at our nation’s airports, many amputees are concerned about the enhanced screening process; some are so uncomfortable that they will not travel by plane at all. The subject article (link below), published in the O&P Business News, describes the newest procedures and how they affect amputees.

The Amputee Coalition of America is working with the TSA to educate their screeners and develop reasonable guidelines for screening travelers with prosthetic limbs. In the meantime, the following suggestions should make the process easier for you:

1. Pack your prosthetic supplies in a bag separate from other articles in your suitcase, along with your prosthetist’s business card. Label the bag, “prosthetic supplies.” Take the bag of supplies out of your suitcase (like you would a laptop) and place in a plastic bin to be x-rayed.

2. If you have a specialized prosthetic device such as a vacuum system or microprocessor knee, it would be helpful to have information describing it in your carry-on bag or purse. This could be information downloaded from a website or your prosthetic provider. Also, print information on screening procedure for amputee’s from TSA’s website so you know your rights: link

3. You do NOT have to remove your shoes when going through the metal detector. Advise the TSA screener that you have a prosthetic leg and it’s difficult to remove your shoes and/or dangerous to walk without them.

4. Be as cooperative, polite and helpful as you can to the TSA screener.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for a supervisor if you feel the screener has asked you to do something inappropriate.

click here to read O&P Business News article

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Welcome to Southern California Prosthetic’s Blog! It is our desire to provide a place where our patients and others in the amputee community can not only read up on the latest SCP news, but be kept up to date on prosthetic technology, disabled sporting events/opportunities, and any other information of interest to amputees. We hope that you will find this to be a helpful and informative resource.

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Contact Information

Southern California Prosthetics
9272 Jeronimo Road, Suite 106
Irvine, California 92618
Phone: 949.892.5338

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Recent Blog Entry

New Prosthetic Products and Technologies

Functional Amputee Support Team (FAST), in conjunction with Southern California Prosthetics, cordially invites you to attend our next Amputee Education Series program: New Prosthetic Products and Technologies Each year new products come to market, advancing the state of the art for amputees worldwide. We are excited to have several of the top prosthetic manufacturing companies […]

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