Alex Moursellas' PROPRIO FOOT Story
On the 25th of June 2015, my life completely changed. I had been riding a motorcycle to work every day for the last 20 years without a hitch. Three weeks before this fateful day, my partner Vanessa had a minor stroke and I had planned to take her to her last check-up at Westmead Hospital on the 25th of June to make sure all was clear. Before her appointment, I needed to go into work before coming home to drop the bike off so I can get our car and drive Vanessa to her important appointment at Westmead Hospital.
I rode my bike into work, set a few things up, then left work and headed home. Now from memory, I had left work around 5:30 am and was travelling along North Rocks Road, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in Westmead hospital in intensive care 3 days later. I was told I had been in a coma following a road accident at the intersection of Barkley road & North Rocks road, where I was hit by a speeding car. I had sustained multiple injuries to the point where I fell into cardiac arrest. The Ambos had to revive me again, and I thank them so deeply for basically giving me a second chance in life. If it weren’t for the Ambos, I would not be here today.
When I woke up in the hospital, I didn’t remember anything except for leaving work. I do remember the doctor waking me up and explaining my situation, saying that I had fractured my right shoulder, snapped my right arm in two places, my femur had also snapped and pierced through my skin and the last thing he told me was that my right foot was amputated on impact. I raised my head to look at my feet which were under the sheet and noticed my left foot was there, but on the other side, the sheet was flat. I then laid my head back on the pillow in disbelief and woke up the next day with my family around me.
In the last 5 years since my amputation, I have gone through 4 types of prosthetic feet. It wasn’t until late 2019 I started wearing a PROPRIO FOOT and have noticed a big difference straight away. If I had to compare all the prosthetic feet I’ve worn, then that’s easy, there is no comparison! The PROPRIO FOOT adjusts itself to make walking easier. There is just no comparison, I just love it.
What I like about the PROPRIO FOOT is that it makes me feel that natural feeling of walking again. The other is being able to wear any type of footwear with ease to re-adjust to suit through an app on my mobile.
The PROPRIO FOOT has had a great impact on my daily lifestyle. It makes a lot of the basic things easier to achieve compared to any of the previous feet I have tried. The PROPRIO FOOT has solved many of my challenges such as walking up and down slopes and hills, co-ordinating my footwork to be able to ride a bicycle, being able to climb stairs with ease, going on walking tracks in the bush and just generally negotiating uneven ground. Because the foot adapts to slopes and different terrain, I find activities like, walking up and down slopes and transitioning from road to pathways and walking on grass, is made easier. I feel like I am lasting a lot longer on this foot when I’m just generally walking about.
Despite the PROPRIO FOOT being still new to me, I have gradually worked my way up to walking longer distances, riding my bicycle and even now being able to go camping. I have even been put back to full-time duties at work.
The most enjoyable part about wearing a PROPRIO FOOT is being able to achieve most things I haven’t been able to do since I lost my foot. The PROPRIO FOOT has given me the confidence to almost do anything I would have done if I had my real foot. It’s had a very strong positive impact in my day to day lifestyle.
I would like to thank the masterminds behind the scenes and secondly all the staff at APC Northmead for everything they had done for me and getting me upright again. Thank you all.
Sarah McConnell on Alex's Prosthetic Journey
When I was first introduced to the latest PROPRIO FOOT featuring the Pro-Flex LP carbon design, increased range of motion, reduced weight and additional functionality, Alex seemed like the perfect candidate for this component. Alex had been using a Pro-Flex Pivot foot for a few years and found huge improvements in this compared to his basic carbon foot previously used. He found the increased range of mechanical ankle motion provided significant improvements in his walking compared to his basic carbon foot.
Now also wearing the PROPRIO FOOT, Alex felt he could do even more with the additional features this microprocessor ankle offered, to better meet his needs and increase his mobility.
Alex had been using a Pro-Flex Pivot foot for a few years and found huge improvements in this compared to his basic carbon foot previously used. He found the increased range of mechanical ankle motion provided significant improvements in his walking compared to his basic carbon foot. Now also wearing the PROPRIO FOOT, Alex felt he could do even more with the additional features this microprocessor ankle offered, to better meet his needs and increase his mobility.
From a clinical point of view, I had wondered how Alex would feel restricted walking with a microprocessor-controlled ankle due to its differing ankle function and the subsequent additional weight compared to the mechanical foot that he was used to. I was pleasantly surprised when I fit him with the new PROPRIO FOOT, as the 33 degrees of ankle range with active adaptation, offered a new level of comfort and natural biomechanical gait for Alex, which was evident in his walking and rollover. Alex didn’t notice the weight with the function it provided.
The PROPRIO FOOT was very easy to set up and was completed using an iPad within 15 minutes. With a few laps of our gym, Alex had completed the simple auto adjustment programming. With the help of an Össur Clinical Specialist, we ran through some additional features of the PROPRIO FOOT such as relaxed sitting, sit-to-stand and heel height adjustment. The Össur Logic app features some handy training videos which helped guide us through training in future appointments to increase familiarity with this foot and the functions it provides.
In his home and work environment Alex was spending a large duration of his day walking slopes, ramps and stairs, and the compliance and range of motion that the PROPRIO FOOT offered exceeded all expectations for himself, and even me as a clinician. As soon as we trialled it on ramps, Alex was impressed by the ankle’s ability to automatically adapt to slopes, stairs and varying terrain resulting in a significant reduction in socket pressures.
The heel height adjustment has been extremely handy for Alex, but also for me as his clinician. I was often spending time in the workshop grinding up heel wedges to put in his shoes to achieve as close to possible ‘normal alignment’ for all his different footwear. Now with the PROPRIO FOOT, Alex has full control to adjust his leg to perfect alignment with the simple click of a button, allowing him to change his shoes with heels up to 50mm – Which is great for his work boots!
The increased toe clearance during swing phase was evident when Alex was trial walking in our gym, however it came into its own when we went outside and trialled it on the grassy slopes and riverbank near our clinic. On a daily basis this has made walking much safer for Alex, and he no longer catches the toe when walking out in the community or workplace.
Alex has been using the PROPRIO FOOT for over a year and from a clinical point of view it has proven to be simple and hassle free. I have replaced Alex’s socket since fitting him with the PROPRIO FOOT, and we simply aligned and recompleted the auto adjustment step to ensure it was functioning optimally after this change. This surprised me greatly as I was concerned a microprocessor ankle might increase review appointments and adjustments needed, however it has done the opposite.
Without a doubt the PROPRIO FOOT has changed Alex’s mobility for the better. Alex is no longer avoiding stairs and ramps in his normal outdoor environment and feels like he can walk much further with less fatigue. It was also a positive clinical experience with an easy and straight forward set up and I look forward to using it in the future for other clients to take advantage of the benefits this foot can offer to their mobility and daily life.