No Challenge Left Unattempted Getting the Right Training and the Right Prosthesis for Spartan Races
Ever since I could comprehend what sports were, I wanted to be an athlete. When I played softball, basketball, water polo, or whatever other sport I could be a part of, my teammates felt like family. I’ve also never been one to leave a challenge unattempted. My first thought whenever I learn about a race or another event is always “let's give this a try.” I don’t sell myself short, and even after I had my lower right leg amputated, I decided I wanted to try a Spartan race. I’m grateful to Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, as well as the Challenged Athlete Foundation, for making it possible for me to continue doing the things I love, even as an amputee. A series of medical conditions combined with my constant athletic training led me to eventually have my lower right leg amputated. I had a bone infection in the ankle, and doctors had to fuse some of my ankle bones together to help it heal. That meant I had very restricted ankle movement — but I kept running on it anyway. Ever since I moved to the Boise area four years ago, I’ve loved hiking and running on the Boise foothills. The fused ankle bones changed my foot mechanics, causing multiple breaks that wouldn't heal. Finally, I was faced with a decision: keep my leg and spend my life in pain and curtail all of my physical activities, or have my leg amputated and continue doing the sports I loved. I chose to amputate. I’ve since been able to walk, run, and compete with a lower leg prosthesis. However, in sports like basketball and softball, there’s a potential for me to hurt others if they come into contact with the prosthesis, so I decided to try Spartan races. While my latest athletic interest was initially met with a few eye rolls, no one doubted I could run a Spartan race, and I received a lot of support from family and friends. For those unfamiliar, a Spartan race is like the ultimate event. It’s a race dotted with obstacles and challenges that push participants to their limits in terms of both strength and endurance. A 5K Spartan race is called a “sprint,” and it usually has 20 obstacles throughout where participants may have to climb
cargo nets, carry atlas balls or throw spears — just to name a few. I love how Spartan races involve the whole body.
It helps to have specialized OCR, or obstacle course training, to get ready for a Spartan race, as well as a specialized running leg. Getting access to both of those things was where the Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF) and Kormylo Advanced
Prosthetics & Orthotics came in. Brittany Tilden, one of the CPOs (Certified Prosthetist Orthotist) at Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, first told me about CAF. She said if I applied for one of their grants, I could get a new prosthesis and pay for the cost of training for a Spartan race. The more I looked into CAF, the more I liked what they did. I especially liked how they worked with child athletes with disabilities and gave them outlets to pursue the sports they loved.
With the help of CAF and Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, I was able to complete the Boise Sprint, a Spartan race in Payette, in June of last year. I’m grateful for their help in making it possible, and I'm especially grateful to Brittany for helping me find the right leg. I am also thankful for Jen Harmon for always pushing me and motivating me. I hope to run another Spartan race coming up in Seattle very soon. No one is as limited in what they do as they think they are. With the right tools, training, and help from the right people, you don’t have to leave any challenge unattempted.
“I've also never been one to leave a challenge unattempted. My first thought whenever I learn about a race or another event is always ‘let's give this a try.’”
Due to inactivity immediately following an amputation surgery, many amputees are susceptible to developing contractures in the muscles near the amputation site. After a period of prolonged inactivity, those muscles will tighten and it can become very difficult, if not impossible, to move the joint through its full range of motion. Once you develop a contracture, it’s hard to get rid of it. However, you can avoid them if you take proper preventative measures. Contractures make fitting a prosthesis, as well as standing and walking with one, much more difficult. They also often put undue strain on an amputee’s spine. For example, if you’re being fitted for a below-knee prosthesis and you can’t fully extend the residual limb as a result of the contracture, it can easily lead to muscle fatigue. It’s like trying to stand with both knees bent at all times. This leads to shorter, more inefficient steps, and uneven weight distribution on your back. Just one contracture could lead to strain and pressure on many parts of the body. Fortunately, contractures can be prevented. While it’s important to stretch the affected joint, exercise and activity are what actually lead to more healing and resilience. Some studies have indicated that 5–6 hours of activity per day are necessary for amputees to keep a joint’s full range of motion. While this may seem impossible if you’re confined to a hospital bed, physical and occupational therapists can still work around those restrictions to make sure you get the exercise you need. Don’t Let Contractures Inhibit Your Full Range of Motion STAYING IN THE SWING OF THINGS
CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE?
The Secret to Living a Longer, Healthier Life
The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It solves complex problems, recalls forgotten memories, and triggers a dizzying array of emotions. But its most incredible power is the effect it can have on the rest of the body. When it comes to love, well, our brains certainly love it, and our bodies reflect that. Less Stress Human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging, and studies have shown that love actually has positive effects on a person’s physical health as well as mental. The security and commitment felt in a loving relationship are shown to reduce stress by stunting the production of cortisol, the body’s stress-inducing hormone. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a lower risk of stroke, especially in men. Healthier Immune Systems Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that calm, happy people can fight common colds and the flu more easily than those who are anxious or depressed. The physical benefits of love even go as far as healing wounds quicker. Small injuries inflicted on a wide test group at Ohio State University Medical Center healed nearly twice as fast on people who experienced consistent warmth and care than those who experienced hostility. In fact, the latter group needed almost a full additional day to achieve the same amount of healing as the first group. Longer, Happier Lives Being surrounded by love may even save your life. A statistic from the National Health Interview Survey states that single people face a 58% higher risk of mortality. Further bolstering that claim is the Harvard Health Blog, which claims happily married participants experience better health as they age when compared to peers in unhappy partnerships. In fact, the blog asserts, “People in stressful, unhappy marriages may be worse off than a single person who is surrounded by supportive and caring friends, family, and loved ones.” So, it seems the results are in: Loving someone is a healthy lifestyle choice. Even having a strong network of friends and family boosts your odds of living a long life by 50%. So, get out there and make the healthy choice for yourself and those around you by leading a life full of love.
Preventing contractures may seem like a lot of work, but alleviating a contracture after the fact is even more difficult, if not impossible. At Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics, we can help you get in touch with the physicians and physical therapists who will help your joints fully recover after
an amputation. Talk to one of our certified prosthetists if you have any questions!
Wash, Wash, Dry, Repeat
YOUR HYGIENE CHECKLIST
Between follow-up appointments with your prosthetist, maintaining a high
of your body should do fine. Don’t use soap that has any sort of fragrance, though, because this could irritate the skin. Rinse your limb thoroughly after washing it. If you find that the soap you’re using is leading to unwanted irritation, consult a physician or dermatologist. Dry your residual limb. Always pat the limb dry; don’t rub the limb. While the action of rubbing the limb might be soothing to some people, it can be very irritating to others. Make sure your limb is completely dry before putting any liners, shrinkers, or socks back on. Throughout the entire washing process, check your residual limb for any redness, blisters, pimples, or sores. If you see anything that looks abnormal, consult a health care professional right away. It’s better to identify potential skin irritations early on before they can get infected. And, of course, if you’re not sure whom to speak with about an irritation or infection, talk to one of our prosthetists and we can get you pointed in the right direction.
quality of personal hygiene around the residual limb is essential. Neglecting to take the necessary steps to clean your residual
limb on a daily basis could lead to a buildup of bacteria, infection, and a delay in the healing process. To minimize the risk of infection, run through this checklist every day.
Wash any part of the prosthesis that touches your skin. This includes any liners, shrinkers, or socks you’re using to maintain a proper fit within the prosthesis. Before putting these parts of the prosthesis back on, make sure they are all free of residual soap.
Wash your residual limb. To do this, all you’ll need is some mild soap and warm water. As for the type of soap, whatever you use to clean the rest
Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe. EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI
• • • • • • • • •
4 tbsp butter 4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup lemon juice 8 oz cooked linguine
1/4 cup parsley
1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.
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1 No Challenged Left Unattempted
2 The Effects of Love on Your Physical Health 2 Contractures: What They Are and How to Prevent Them
3 3 Steps for Good Prosthetic Hygiene 3 Easy Shrimp Scampi
4 Learn All About Leap Year
Who The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are 1 in 1,461. That means that of the roughly seven billion people in the world, only about five million of them are “leaplings.” The number of leaplings currently living in the U.S. is roughly 187,000. Some famous leaplings include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and singer Mark Foster of Foster the People. However, the most famous leapling is probably Superman. When you invent a super-being, you might as well give him a super-birthday. Where Anthony, Texas/New Mexico (a single town that straddles the two states’ borders), claims the title “Leap Year Capital of the World.” The city throws one massive birthday party for all leaplings but invites everyone to join the celebration. Two leapling neighbors from Anthony began the tradition in 1988, and it’s blossomed into a festival with thousands of participants every four years. It includes banquets, hot air balloons, a carnival, concerts, parades, and more. When you have four years to plan in between each shindig, there’s time to go big. Celebrate this leap year by doing something unusual or new. It’s a special day that doesn’t occur often, so make the most of it by doing something you’ll talk about for another four years. Leap Into 2020 Facts About the Leap Year
Like the Olympics and
leap years only occur once every four
years, which is why many people look forward to Feb. 29.
But there’s a lot that you might not know about
this quirk on the calendar.
Why To keep the calendar in sync with Earth’s orbit around the sun, an extra day is added to it every four years. Earth takes exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun. Those
extra hours add up over time, so another calendar day becomes necessary. But a leap year doesn’t occur every four years. Adding that extra day still doesn’t quite keep Earth on track, so the calendar skips leap years that occur during century years not divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be.
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