Seven years ago, Dennis Brooks, was involved in a construction accident. Even after 18 corrective surgeries, the trauma of the accident proved too severe to restore the full use of his ankle. As a result, Dennis was given three options in which to proceed: fused ankle, non-productive AFO or amputation. He elected for amputation and has now been an amputee for four years.
Dennis’s first prosthesis was a rigid ankle which restricted his movement, his walking and was never quite able to do exactly what he wanted. After doing his own thorough research into hydraulic ankle technology and elevated vacuum, he decided that EchelonVAC was the best option for him. Dennis immediately noticed a real difference commenting, “it makes for a more intimate feel between the prosthesis and me, the way it works by pulling vacuum with every step gives you a more secure and comfortable fit.”
He explained, “the ankle has given me the exact movement I was looking for, it’s completely changed the way I walk and the pain I often felt in my back after walking long distances has been alleviated. The movement is so comparable to a real ankle.” EchelonVAC’s comfortable fit, combined with its range motion has subsequently enabled Dennis to spend more time with grandchildren, teaching them how to play baseball.
Dennis also commented on the way EchelonVAC is able to adapt to the terrain, “the split in the toes means my foot is always flat to the surface giving me more surface bearing.” This especially comes in handy when he goes out on long walks and hiking adventures with his family. “Not having to constantly look down at the terrain makes for a much more enjoyable day and I’m always confident that the hydraulics will handle any obstacles”. Dennis also notes the comfortable standing position the hydraulic ankle is able to facilitate, “I’m able to move my body around without being restricted to one certain angle.” This is especially useful for when he’s working on his classic cars with his son.
Dennis also uses Silcare Breathe to compliment EchelonVAC which has helped with sweat management and skin breakdown. He explains, “due to the perforated holes in the liner, it draws moisture away from my limb while I’m walking and is much more comfortable without the skin breakdown”. He also explained how in the past he would have to dry off and even change his entire sleeve halfway through the day but with Silcare Breathe he’s able to use it all day without any problems.
With the combination of EchelonVAC and Silcare Breathe, Dennis commented: “it’s the best product out there, I can’t see anything out there that compares to the way it works.” His family also noticed the immediate improvement in Dennis’s mobility which in turn has had a positive impact on his happiness. He feels he can really look to the future now, “I’m a better dad and I have a lot more enjoyment in life, I’ve loved playing with my grandkids and spending quality time with them while fishing.” Dennis now has plans on leading a healthier lifestyle and says that his ability to now walk further will be an integral part of this plan.
His advice to other amputees is to do as much research as you can into the different products that are available and to consider all options. It’s not until you give a product a try that you can truly know how life-changing some of the solutions out there can be.