Experiencing Greater Freedom with the emPOWER Ankle
In 2005, I lost my left leg below the knee while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. After receiving medical treatment and recovering at the Walter Reed Medical Center, I was eventually fitted with a conventional prosthetic leg. The mobility limitations of the conventional device became quickly apparent. In 2012, I was introduced to the BiOM Ankle by my prosthetist. Since then the powered propulsion has allowed me to care for my two small children, volunteer with veterans’ service organizations and pursue outdoor sports ranging from golf to snowmobiling.
The emPOWER ankle provides the same Power, Control and Stability of the BiOM Ankle but with a more natural feeling step, a longer battery life and a more compact
design. I can walk seamlessly on various terrains without worrying about the surface below – this has been especially important when landscaping, doing volunteer work and playing with my children. Getting in and out of a vehicle, is much easier with the emPOWER Ankle’s smaller, integrated battery. The flexion provided by the emPOWER Ankle allows for a comfortable ride as a driver or passenger.
I can now rely on two batteries to get me through a full day of activities with my small children. The battery placement and charge indicator lights at the front of the
emPOWER Ankle are convenient and swapping batteries is much easier. The walking distance and speed, provided by the emPOWER Ankle, allows for a more productive day.
Climbing stairs and walking up grades takes less energy than with a conventional prosthesis - energy I can put toward hunting and fishing.
Confidence & Control with the emPOWER Ankle
In the summer of 2006, I suffered a traumatic injury to my leg due to a fall. I used a conventional prosthesis for seven years. Despite maintaining a healthy weight, stretching and being disciplined with my gait, I eventually suffered hip and back pain. My knee on my sound side began to hurt after long days standing on the job. I was taking 600 mg of ibuprofen daily. I often had to rely on a cane which was difficult in my 20’s – I was self-conscious about being reliant on an assistive device, as well as the stares and treatment that came with using one.
In 2012, a BiOM Ankle was approved through my private insurance carrier. The powered propulsion provided by the BiOM Ankle was a game changer. I was able to stop using a cane immediately. In addition, I was able to stop taking ibuprofen because my back, hip and knee no longer hurt. My work day was no longer painful and I had energy after work to exercise and carry out home renovations.
The refined design of the emPOWER Ankle integrates a smaller, more well-positioned battery that provides up to twice as much run time. Battery life is no longer something that needs to be planned carefully. Recently, I was able to complete a day hike on Mt. Champlain’s Precipice Trail using just one battery over the 1,000 foot climb. Ascending stairs is one instance where improved power delivery is noticeable over the BiOM Ankle - it just feels smoother. My gait with the emPOWER Ankle is even more natural accross all terrains and surfaces. As an advocate, I have been excited to see BionX incorporate the feedback of the BiOM Ankle user community into the new emPOWER Ankle. The emPOWER Ankle has all the benefits of the BiOM Ankle in a more compact design. I no longer have to worry about the battery hitting the doorjam when I get in and out of my car.
Staying Mobile and Active with the emPOWER Ankle
When I was 19, I was a young Army bride living in Germany. Touring the scenic countryside on motorcycles was an activity all of our friends enjoyed. On a sightseeing ride near Heidelberg, my husband’s bike began to have mechanical issues. As a precaution, I got off his bike on the side of the road to ride with a friend. After making the passenger switch, we were hit head on by a drunk driver.
I owe my life to a doctor at the scene who placed a tourniquet on my thigh and saved me from bleeding out. From that moment on my life was forever changed. I was helicoptered to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (a U.S. military hospital in Germany). I had ten breaks in my lower limbs and my femur - all compound fractures. My arm and back were also broken. They put me back together over 10 hours of surgery. When I woke up from surgery, I was in a body cast.
Three days after my first surgery, I got gangrene and had to be amputated just above the ankle. After five surgeries, they finally took my leg at the knee. My accident recovery and rehabilitation took place at Walter Reed Army Medical Center over a period of two years. Eventually, I went on to raise two wonderful sons – one of whom is a prosthetist. Today, I run a very active antique dealership in a historic town and volunteer as a Peer Advisor for both the Amputee Coalition and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare system. I enjoy hiking, golfing and any chance to walk the beach. My favorite times are those spent with my grandchildren.
My Evolving Experience
When I received my BiOM Ankle in 2014, I felt like I had been given back my lower limb that had been missing for 42 years. The refinements offered by the emPOWER Ankle take the benefits of the BiOM Ankle to a new level. Right away, I noticed a smoother power delivery to my step with the emPOWER Ankle. The compact design features a forward-facing, integrated battery with a battery charge indicator that is easy to read. The new design now works with boots in cold weather. The emPOWER Battery is much smaller and I can carry it in my handbag also. At home or in my shop, the emPOWER Charger takes up less valuable counter space.