Derek Eady's Pro-Flex XC Torsion & Direct Socket Story

Eight years ago, my life changed forever. While working on the roof of my home, I slipped and fell 5 and half metres... feet first. I shattered my right leg and pelvis and broke my back in 3 places. I had been a frontline Ambulance Paramedic for 15 years, and I knew I was in serious trouble. As my colleagues worked to stabilise me and get me to the hospital, I wondered if I would ever be able to work again. Over the next 7 months, I had numerous surgeries to try and save my leg. While the rest of my body healed, my leg wasn’t recovering, so I made the difficult decision to amputate.

Five months after my amputation I was back working in an ambulance. My Össur Re-Flex Shock prosthetic foot gave me the confidence to continue working in a highly demanding frontline Ambulance role for a further five years. I am now on the Ӧssur Pro-Flex XC Torsion as my everyday leg.

Two years ago I had the opportunity to work with the Ӧssur Team to pair it with their Direct Socket System where we also added the Unity pump to the foot to improve the suspension. I have tried many different casting and socket manufacture techniques over the years, but the Ӧssur Direct Socket is hands down the best fitting socket I have ever used.

Whether it is going out for a run on my Flex-Run running blade, skiing in the mountains or scuba diving in the tropics, the Össur Direct Socket has meant I can challenge myself without the fear of blisters from rubbing.

Having a great team working with my prosthetist is essential for me to be able to maintain the active life I have always lived. I have never turned away from a challenge. Since retiring from the ambulance service, my wife Kirsten and I have been working on our 42 foot sailing yacht “Lemanja” and we’re getting her ready to head offshore to cruise the pacific.

Offshore sailing is an extremely challenging environment. I will be working closely with my prosthetics team and Ӧssur over the next few months to ensure I have the foot I need to meet the demands of the sea.

Iain Lowrie's Clinical Perspective

I’ve been working with Derek since his first prosthesis. My first impression of Derek was that he was very motivated. Derek was clear that his goals were to get back to a high level of functionality so that he could return to working life as a paramedic. As with most amputee’s early journey, his limb would reduce in size and therefore required multiple socket fits to get the snug fit that Derek wanted.

When Derek had his first Direct Socket made, we changed the suspension to Unity elevated vacuum. Derek likes the firm fit which has been stabilised by the Unity system, as it maintains volume and causes no movement inside the socket. The Direct Socket has required the least modification and minimal adjustments compared to any of his previous sockets. To date, his socket has lasted 4 times longer than the conventional sockets. As a clinician, I like that the Unity system is low maintenance and lightweight. The Direct Socket is retrofittable with different suspension methods and is exceptionally reliable.

When the Össur Mobility Clinic travelled to Auckland, New Zealand, Derek had the opportunity to attend the clinic and was able to trial a Flex-Run running blade for the first time. He was sprinting up and down the court straight away – you couldn’t wipe the grin off his face! Before this he had been able to jog on his Pro-Flex XC prosthetic foot and undertake some higher-level activities, but Derek was wanting to get stronger and fitter so that he could carry patients safely and with maximum control as a paramedic. Participating in the Össur Mobility Clinic made him realise he could get back into high level running, which he didn’t think was possible before.

Derek wears the Pro-Flex XC Torsion as his everyday prosthetic foot. The shock/torsion ball was a requirement for Derek to reduce stress on his residual limb at work when carrying a stretcher and being able to manoeuvre with control. As a clinician, I think this is a great everyday walking foot, especially with the longer carbon fibre toe compared to other higher activity prosthetic feet in the market. The difference this has made for Derek is substantial, as he is able to utilise the entire length of the foot during stance phase, which has improved his confidence and mobility when walking at faster speeds. This also helped him learn what additional power is returned from an energy storing carbon foot when jogging.

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