A Tutorial on Casting: UD Orthotics and Prosthetics Club hosts casting workshop
The University of Delaware’s Orthotics and Prosthetics Club casts a unique vision to inspire its members.
Last month, the club learned how to cast prosthetic limbs during a workshop with staff from Independence Prosthetics Orthotics, one of the BADER Consortium’s partners. The workshop gave students the opportunity to learn from professionals working in the field.
The event took place in the University of Delaware’s Integrated Science and Engineering lab, where attendants used their own limbs as models.
“They showed us how to properly mark the subject’s limb and then wrap and set the limb in the desired position,” said Bretta Flystra, a senior member and founder of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Club. “All the students had the opportunity to practice on each other to get a hands-on feel for what an orthotics and prosthetics clinician does.”
The registered student organization is celebrating its one year anniversary this spring. The club recruits students from various majors, including biomedical engineering, speech pathology, nursing and exercise science. Students come together with the goal of creating opportunities for professional development while learning best practices to help people with limb loss and limb difference.
During the workshop, the IPO staff also showed club members what it looks like to be an orthotics and prosthetics clinician on a daily basis. Students tried on different prosthetic devices to get a feel for how artificial joints work with the body to give patients their mobility back.They even got to wear an orthotic with a locking knee joint, an eye-opening experience for Flystra, who learned how the device locked and unlocked to provide support to the patient.
The Orthotics and Prosthetics Club regularly plans events for clinicians to interact with and teach students who are pursuing the field. Last fall, the club attended a conference at Johns Hopkins University, where students learned about innovative research on 3D printing to create prosthetic hands. Each semester, the club invites two to three guest speakers to present on different topics, such as graduate school programs and careers in the field.
“I think this field is so exciting because you can really impact a person’s life,” Flystra said. “Moving from Point A to B or tying a shoe is often overlooked, but it is a critical part of a person’s everyday life. I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the devices themselves and how these devices are used in rehabilitation.”
IPO will return in April with tips on how to break into the field. The company’s involvement with the Orthotics and Prosthetics club continues to grow university ties. Independence is located in Newark and has hosted about 30 interns in recent years. The company also participated in a clinical immersion course taken by biomedical engineering students at UD. And this summer, it will open a satellite location at the STAR campus.
With a passion to move forward, the O&P club continues to plan new activities. Student members will also get a head start on the club’s “First Step” this April, a grant they received to research a project. Members will build a low-cost prosthetic limb to allow a patient with limb loss to ride a bicycle.
Their growing expertise doesn’t end with human limbs – a faculty member recently asked the club to create a 3D printed prosthetic limb for her dog, who has a missing limb.
With their help, soon even Fido will be able to play catch again.
By Brooke LeMunyon