As a prosthesis wearer, why should I "Check My Foot"?

The start of spring is a good time to review this question…..

Question:

Why should I check my prosthetic foot, and how do I do that? - Carolyn M.

ANSWER:

After a mild winter, spring has arrived in full force. Many of us will start to become a little more active in the warmer months.  We are busy fertilizing yards and mowing grass, preparing our gardens or taking walks in the community.   This means we are on our feet a lot more frequently than in the colder months. 

Spring is a great time to “CHECK YOUR FEET”.    Our feet are our foundation, much like the foundation of a house.  If the house foundation is cracking and in poor condition, the building upon it will not hold up well.  Your prosthetic device is part of your walking foundation and it is a good idea to have your device checked out.

Prosthetic feet wear down from daily use.   Some feet are a completed design, meaning the inner mechanics are enclosed by a foam foot casing.  Other feet have foot shells and protective socks, which can be removed to inspect the carbon foot design.   When your foot begins to wear down, your walking pattern, or gait, may be affected.   You may also hear noises such as a metal “click” or “squeaking”.

Spring is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with your prosthetist.   We will inspect your prosthetic foot for signs of wear or damage and advise you of any recommended repairs or possible replacement.   Sometimes repairs may be completed on the same day you are seen or, may require us to order appropriate parts for your prosthesis.   Either way, it should help you start off your spring on the right foot, or possibly your left!!!

- Mary Reedy, Certified Prosthetist

 Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

How do we know if the office is closed in wintry weather?

It is that time of year again, when we might face ice and snow!

QUESTION:

Now that winter is upon us, what is the best way to find out if one of your offices will be closed due to inclement weather?   - Ellie B  

ANSWER:

There are several ways to find out about our office closures due to inclement weather.  You can call our main office, 800-879-1245, to listen to a recorded message which will state if the office is on a delayed opening or is closed that day.  If you do not hear a message regarding office closure due to inclement weather, you can expect our offices will open at their regular 8:00 am time for all scheduled appointments.

Another option is to visit our website where any office closure information will be posted on our main page no later than 6:30AM that morning.   

You can also check out our Facebook page (check it out by clicking here) for posted office closure information.   

Should one or all of our offices be closed due to bad weather, we will call you as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.

Please note, our offices will be closed on Monday, January 21, 2019 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and on Presidents Day, February 18, 2019.

- Kristin Boswell, Director of Patient Services and Billing

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

 

Your First Appointment in the New Year

QUESTION:

My next appointment is scheduled in your office after the first of the year.  Do I need to bring anything with me?  Is there anything new I should know before coming to my appointment?

 - Karon M.

ANSWER:

Thank you for the great question!  The first of the year can be tricky for medical offices, as it is when most insurance policies renew. It is also the time of year when brand new insurance plans go into effect.  Unfortunately, a change in insurance can sometimes cause problems for patients since not all medical providers participate with all insurance plans. 

For example, we often see patients who were previously enrolled in traditional Medicare who have signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the open enrollment period.  Changing over to a Medicare Advantage plan can potentially affect coverage with your current healthcare providers, as some providers may not participate with a particular Medicare Advantage plan.  This means you would no longer be able to see that provider without having an out of pocket expense.  This is one reason we encourage our patients who have made any change to their insurance to contact our office prior to their appointment to let us know of the change.  At this time, we can also confirm whether or not we are an in-network provider with your new insurance plan. 

Speaking of out of pocket expenses, since most insurance policies run calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31), deductibles and out of pocket costs also renew the first of the year - so there may also be a possibility you will have a share for a service early in the new year.  We will certainly let you know of any financial responsibility you may have prior to providing the service.  Also, please don’t forget to bring any new insurance cards with you to your appointment! 

One last thing, so we may have the option to effectively communicate with you in regards to the care you receive from us, we will be asking for your current email address, as well as your permission to use it as a method of contacting you regarding the medical care you are receiving from us. 

 Happy New Year!

 - Kristin Boswell, Director of Patient Services and Billing

 

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

End of Year Benefit and Scheduling Planning

This is question that comes up close to the end of the year, so we thought it was worth reposting.

QUESTION:

Hello, with the holiday season quickly approaching and winter just around the corner, I’m concerned my prosthesis will need repair or I will need supplies and I might not be able to get an appointment.  Do you have any recommendations to ease my concerns?

 - Peyton K.

ANSWER:

We certainly understand your concerns, Peyton, and highly recommend scheduling an appointment with your practitioner prior to the holiday season and end of the year.  Many insurance policies renew January 1st, which may translate into your annual deductibles and out of pocket costs starting all over again.  This is something you certainly want to keep in mind as the end of the year approaches.  We are more than happy to review your benefits and provide you with the anticipated cost difference for services you receive prior to January 1st compared to after January 1st.  Just give us a call and one of our patient service coordinators will be happy to verify your benefits and answer your insurance questions.  In most cases, receiving repair to or supplies for your prosthesis prior to the end of the year will help keep cash in your pocket!  Make your appointment now for November or December.   We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 - Kristin Boswell, Director of Patient Services and Billing

 

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

What is 3D printing about in O&P?

QUESTION: 

I keep hearing about 3D printing in orthotics and prosthetics. How does that work?  - Paul W.

ANSWER:

Paul, what a great question! This is a very exciting time for 3D printing in Orthotics and Prosthetics and one of our favorite subjects.

The start of 3D printing
Most people think that 3D printing is relatively new. The truth is that it was started in 1980 when Hideo Kodama first described a layer by layer approach to manufacturing. About four years later a French team filed a patent for the stereolithography process (later to be re-named as 3D printing). They later abandoned their efforts, saying they just couldn’t find a viable market for this process. At about the same time, Chuck Hull filed his own patent for a stereolithography fabrication system. Through the ’80s, with much work and experimenting, 3D printing moved from its infancy and childhood to its adolescence. Though there are certainly others, three main printing methods have emerged: SLA - which uses a photo-sensitive liquid polymer; SLS - fuses material in a powder form; and FDM - deposits heated filament on a build plate to create objects layer by layer.

3D printing and prosthetics
One of the things that make 3D printing so appealing is the possibility to design, alter and customize objects. This has led to manufacturers using it to create prototypes in a much more efficient and timely manner. In the world of prosthetics almost everything is custom built for an individual patient - making 3D printing a very useful tool. 

In the last decade, groups like e-NABLE began creating, through open-source collaborations, hands for people who were missing fingers. This has sparked the hope for customizable, lower-cost prosthetic devices.

Often when a prosthetic leg is made, the patient wants a shape that resembles a real leg. This is most often done by encasing the metal tube that connects the foot to the rest of the socket with a foam material and sanding it to a leg shape. It can then be covered with a stocking or an artificial skin. This is known as a cosmetic cover. 3D printing has given rise to a market for personalized cosmetic covers for patients who aren’t as interested in natural-looking devices or really want to have an artistic way to express themselves.  

Dankmeyer’s involvement in 3D printing
Dankmeyer began their adventure in 3D printing in 2013 with the purchase of their first printer. Several people began the process of learning to design 3D objects as well as run the printer. That year also saw a number of staff members participated in an e-NABLE sponsored event where a number of pre-printed hands were assembled. 

The first real foray into creating a 3D device was for a patient who was less than pleased with the prospect of needing to wear a “traditional” prosthetic hand. We designed and produced an Ironman-inspired hand for him. The movie was in the theaters at the time and he was definitely a fan. We later made him a Batman version as well.

The next hand we produced was for a baby born with a defect to his right hand. He was beginning to crawl and his parents thought it was important for him to become used to wearing a prosthetic early enough that it would just be normal as he grew up. You can read more about this device and see pictures on our 3D Printing page. Click here.

If you are interested in seeing a video we made as an introduction to 3D printing, just click on the video link below.


Thank you for your question!  - Art Ross and Shawn Ross, Fabrication Technicians

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com