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Steamboat Springs part-time resident David Dennis is approaching the third-year mark from when his right leg was amputated below the knee.
The elective amputation surgery in December 2018 followed initial damage in 2007 from a Lisfranc fracture in his mid-foot that required a fix with four titanium screws. Unfortunately, 10 months after surgery, Dennis was diagnosed with a staph infection that migrated into bones in his mid-foot and caused his ankle to drop. He spent many years in pain, including five stays in the hospital.
With a second home in Steamboat for 25 years, Dennis became an investor in Steamboat-based medical device firm Click Medical five years ago. As a retired chief financial officer at a large health care company, Dennis was an advocate for the company’s adjustable kits that improve the fit of prostheses for people who have lost limbs. Ironically, Dennis now also is a patient of Click Medical with his custom lower leg prosthesis that utilizes an adjustment kit made by Click.
“At the time I invested in the company, I had no idea I would be a user of the product,” he said.
Dennis, 72, is one of the patients looking forward to using the latest design upgrade for Click Medical’s dial-based tightening and loosening system that was released Oct. 1. The technology improvement is called Click Reel and helps patients make micro- and macro-adjustments of their prosthetic devices quickly, easily and conveniently. The goal of the redesign is to increase safety and ease for orthotic and prosthetic use.
Dennis said he is excited to upgrade his prosthetic adjustment kit that will allow him to both tighten and loosen the fit incrementally.
Click Medical, which employs nine full-time workers in its Steamboat offices, provides designs and equipment to help amputees across the world to live more comfortable and active lives. The adjustment kits are sold to clinics and prosthetists in 41 countries and are included in Click’s three core products, RevoFit, RevoSurface and RevoLock, said Jen Howland, Click Medical vice president of sales and marketing.
Steamboat resident Jimmy Capra, co-founder and CEO of Click Medical, worked with advanced research and design consultancy firm IDealogy in Seattle for two years, including testing phases, before introducing the new product this fall. Experts say the more patients can perfect the fit of their prostheses throughout the day on their own, the better, as body parts can change in size depending on the level and type of activity.
“Adjustable prosthetic and orthotic devices increase patient satisfaction and their lives, in general, by empowering them to provide daily self-care,” Capra noted.
The redesign includes a loosening and tightening mechanism for a custom-made prothesis that can quickly wind-up slack lace and then automatically shift into a power mode to provide fine-tuned fit. The technology includes a clutch that delivers the ability to create optimal fit based on the user’s needs, Howland explained.
With more incremental adjustments available, the device can be more comfortable and safer for a patient’s circulation, she said. The Click Reel also boasts a 33% lower profile to fit better under clothing.
Patient and retired Army Staff Sgt. Dave Gardner, of Springville, Utah, has been wearing a below-the-knee adjustable prosthetic since he was injured in Iraq. The Army vet is an avid hunter and has used a prosthesis for 14 years.
Client Dave Gardner (background, sitting) works with his prosthesis fit with physical therapist Joe Mahon in a clinic.
Noah Wetzel/Courtesy photo
Gardner is positive about the benefits of the new Click Reel to improve the fit and comfort of his device.
“I love being able to adjust my socket in both directions,” Gardner said. “Every time I sit down or drive, I loosen my socket just a little, which makes all the difference. It’s simple, but it’s life changing.”
Click Medical was established in 2014 as a medical device spin-off of then Steamboat-based Boa Technology, which developed dial adjustments for recreation, such as snowboard boot lacings.
Howland said Click Medical also sponsors the Denver-based Range of Motion Project by donating the company’s adjustment kits to the nonprofit organization, which works to provide high quality prosthetic care to under-served populations in such places as Ecuador and Guatemala.
In addition to Click Medical adjustment devices, Dennis’ prosthetic includes a “smart ankle,” where the user can adjust the ankle angle remotely via a Bluetooth connection through a smart phone. Today, he has relearned how to play golf, can ride recumbent bikes at the gym and take his dog for milelong walks around Steamboat without pain.
Dennis believes the market for high-tech prostheses is growing larger all the time as disabled individuals work to stay more active.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
See full story at the Steamboat Pilot.
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