Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gait Lab & New Leg Fitting

We went to our amputee clinic last week. We typically have to wait for awhile before we are seen and so we just let the boys walk up and down the hallways because there is no way they are going to sit quietly in a room for an hour or more. Plus, the amputee clinic is fairly casual. There are usually other amputee families around and so we all chat out in the hallway until it is our turn. This time there was this cute little girl, maybe 5 or 6 months younger than Dylan, who was born without a hand. Dylan and Kaden were pretty fascinated with her. Kaden had lots of questions for her mommy and thought it was SO cool that she could still crawl with no hand. We pointed out that she can crawl without a hand, just like Dylan can walk without a foot! It was fun to see him making the connections. I'm glad that he will have these opportunities and experiences to meet so many kids and people with special differences. Every time we go to the hospital for an appointment, we always see other kids in wheelchairs and braces and casts and prosthetic legs, etc. and each time we get to explain to him that that kid uses a wheelchair to help him get around just like Dylan uses a prosthetic leg, or that kid has to have braces to help make their feet strong so they can walk, etc. I hope this helps him be very accepting of everyone, Dylan too.

Anyway, the amputee clinic went great. Every nurse, doctor, physical therapist, and prosthetist that saw him was SO impressed with how well he is doing. Those who saw him for the first time are shocked when they find out he's only had his leg for 5 months. Everyone got a good kick  when he started to cry because they wanted to take his leg off. They loved that he loves his leg so much! We're so proud and impressed as well! 

Dylan was great during the clinic. He let them check out his leg and stump, he walked and ran and jumped on command. As we chatted with the doctors and nurses he walked between them saying hi and waving. OH...and the cutest part. When everyone was first coming out of the room next to us and heading into our room, Dylan watched each of them cautiously, but smiled and waved when they did, but when Jason, our prosthetist, came out, Dylan walked up to him and gave him a big hug. It was SO cute and everyone oohed and aahed at how sweet that was. Dylan is starting to associated Jason with his leg, and clearly he loves him for it! :)

The physical therapist left at one point during our appointment and came back in saying she had talked to the Gait Lab/Department and they wanted to do some videos of Dylan. They said he's progressing so well, they wanted to document his progress. Our doctors and prosthetist have started putting smaller sized feet with a slight "rocker" on the bottom of prosthetic feet in young children, because they feel it will help them learn to walk better when they are first learning to walk on their prosthesis. Dylan's great progress is showing how this seems to be working and so they want to document it to continue to study how this helps. So we set up an appointment for a few days later to go down to the Gait Lab to get some videos of Dylan walking.

A couple days after the amputee clinic, we headed back to the hospital to go to the Gait Lab and to also get Dylan fitted for his NEW leg!

The Gait Lab was really cool! They have this big blue room with cameras set up all around. They put these little reflective balls on Dylan's feet and then had him walk up and down this red "runway" and the cameras followed him. He was a little hesitant of having the balls stuck to his feet, but once we distracted him he walked up and down that runway like he was a model. haha. They said he followed directions better than most of their other patients. :)
(I apologize for the lack of quality on some of the pictures, some were taken with a phone camera and lack of sound on the first video, it was taken from a phone, as well, and for whatever reason the sound never transfers over.)

They said that little black pad has pressure sensors and measures the size of his feet and how his feet rolled while walking (or something like that). Pretty cool! It'll be fun to see his progress through these recordings. We'll be going back in periodically, when he gets a new leg.

Speaking of a NEW LEG!! after our appointment with the Gait Lab we headed back up to get Dylan fitted for his brand new leg! I can't believe he grew out of his first leg in just 5 months. That is so quick!

This time around we are trying a new suspension system. Currently I believe his suspension system is considered a suction socket. It's just a sock and a liner that is tight enough that it keeps the leg on with "suction". This time around we are trying out a silicone liner with a pin in the bottom that will then click into the bottom of his leg and locks in place.

I was nervous that he wouldn't like his new leg. It's not a soft sock on his skin anymore, it'll be a slimy/sticky-ish silicone liner and I feared that he would hate the way it felt, which would make him not like his new leg.

So the first fitting Jason put on the new silicone liner and got that cut to the right size, then casted his leg to get the shape. Well, my fear that he would hate the silicone liner was eased. :)

He resisted a little at first, but I think he was more upset that we took his leg off.

But he got over it real fast and was a little fascinated with his new liner. In fact, Jason had to take it off at one point to cut it to size and Dylan kept trying to grab it to put it back on. :) The rest of the appointment he was so chill. He just drew on the paper he was sitting on and talked to Jason while Jason casted his leg and got things figured out.

Kaden put the portion of the silicone liner that Jason cut off, on his leg and said, "Look I have a prosthetic leg!" :)

So that was all last week. Today we went back to try on his new test leg. We were still slightly worried that Dylan would hate his new leg. He didn't seem to mind the liner, but who knows how he would feel about the whole set up. However, he once again AMAZED us! He let Jason put the new leg on and immediately said, "Walk!" So we set him down and he just took off like there was nothing new. It was awesome!! AND...his new leg looks SOOOO great! The new foot looks more realistic, which is an added bonus. But the best part is that he walks BETTER in this new leg. He looked so good walking around in his new leg. And he seemed to really like it. Every time Jason had to take it off to make corrections or check his stump, etc., Dylan would get anxious to put it back on. I can't wait for him to get it for good next week! I was too excited watching him walk around today that I totally forgot to take some pictures, but I'll be sure to take some when we get his new leg!


  1. Katie I am so excited for all of you...Especially Dylan! God has really been watching over all of you. Keep up the good work you do with the boys. They are a reflection of your positive outlook!♥

  2. What a trooper. He's too cute. I always love reading the updates! Thanks Katie!

  3. Fantastic update. We feel so thankful that you are such a good writer/blogger so that we are always informed of our little wonder boy's progress! We're proud if you all. Kaden's "leg" picture was adorable too.

  4. This is wonderful!! I look forward to seeing pictures of his new leg. Wow! Can't believe he outgrew it in 5 months!! :)