In July’s blog, we speak to Donald Mandra, a 56-year-old, car enthusiast, who has been wearing the Infinite Socket TF for four years.
When I was 17, I lost my right leg above-the-knee. When I was referred to my Prosthetist for the first time, I never thought about the progress of prosthetics or the care I was going to be given. I actually dealt with my current prosthetists, Tony Tufano’s, Uncle who owned Mutual Orthopedics on Long Island. Back then, the sockets were made out of wood, with a hinge on the knee but I was young and didn’t want to let anything slow me down in my rehabilitation. Comfort wasn’t necessarily the most important thing for me either. Now that I’m older I feel things catching up a little bit, and I have a chance to reflect on what’s important to me now, and how prosthetic technology has developed over the last 39 years.
It would be fair to say that after my amputation, rehabilitation was learned through trial and error. My experience with Mutual Orthopedics has spanned 30 plus years, and I have always received great care, but when I started dealing with Tony, it was clear that he wanted what was best for the patient, but the technology was not there to match. Every time I fell, I learned something new; learning how to balance, how to utilize what I had to the best of its ability. The problem with conventional sockets was around the brim. Even with a softer inner liner, the comfort was never there, and I was receiving sores around the groin.
When I first saw the Infinite Socket TF on a news article on TV in 2014, I noticed that it was adjustable and had a soft brim. I informed my prosthetist Tony who investigated further, and within months he brought me into the office to be fitted with the socket. It actually fits pretty well out the box; I don’t remember any adjustments to my initial fitting, but one thing was noticeable; the comfort around the brim was immediate. I didn’t find myself having to take it off, or even wanting to take it off. I thought to myself, I can wear this all day and all night and it doesn’t give me any issues. Utilizing it increased my activity level as it didn’t create those sores around my groin anymore. Now that I can reflect, comfort should be the benchmark, as I went from being confident, but in pain, to not feeling like I have any limitations any more.
As with all new technology, there were areas where the socket was breaking, predominantly the brim, and the tensioning device. What made the experience so seamless, however, was that for every part that broke, I informed my prosthetist, who informed LIM’s customer service, and they would ship the replacement part to be fit, all within three days. It was as though they never broke as I’d never been without the component for very long. I’ve actually been on the first Infinite Socket I purchased for 4 years now, and can’t imagine I’d ever go back to a conventional socket again. I’m now extremely excited to get my new Infinite Socket and a new knee. I had a trial with the Ottobock Genium knee and didn’t want to give it back. The combination has been working great for me especially as I spend a lot of my time working on the yard and working on a ‘67 Corvette.
One thing I have noticed is that there is still a lot of uncertainty around the socket on social media. People talk about the bulk of the socket, but in my opinion, it’s only marginally thicker, and that’s by the struts. I have no issues with the bulk and don’t really notice it as I’m comfortable. The weight is hard to quantify when you are wearing it, as the dynamic fit allows for a snug feeling around my residual limb that can be changed when I need it. As I have mentioned, comfort should be the benchmark, and I just wish everyone had the opportunity to try it.
LIM Innovations now offers the Infinite Socket TF to candidates up to 300lbs. If you do have any questions surrounding the socket, please reach out on Facebook, or call us on 844-888-8546 and we will be happy to answer your questions.