Aiming for optimal function

Aiming for optimal function

  Ashly Ash had her right leg amputated when she was 4 years old after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. For much of her life she has used a prosthesis, though it’s been a challenge to find one that’s comfortable and lasting. Now, BADER Consortium and Independence Prosthetics-Orthotics are teaming up to help fit the 29-year-old Pennsylvania woman with a specialized prosthesis that provides optimal function and support for her unique type of limb loss. They are doing it with Oklahoma City prosthetist Jay Martin, who has developed a lightweight hip socket device that gives higher-level amputees like Ash more control and comfort. Martin will help the staff at Independence create a better-fitting prosthesis for Ash. She will be casted and a prosthesis developed from the mold. He also will create a diagnostic socket that should be more aligned to her body. After that, Ash will head to the BADER laboratory on the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. There, she will walk on the split-belt instrumented treadmill and have her movements captured and analyzed to test the final product. It’s a complicated task with one extra wrinkle — the entire project is slated to be completed in less than 48 hours. “It’s amazing to me. It’s a huge opportunity,” said Ash, 29, who initially made contact with the BADER Consortium after hearing about it from her aunt, who works at UD. BADER supports orthopedic research to help service members with limb loss or limb difference return to optimal function. It is funded through a $19.7 million Department of Defense grant....