From her first meeting with Practitioner Brian Lee, Sandra Thomas was eager to be able to reach a new activity level.
After being in a wheelchair for almost 5 years, Sandra wants to walk without any assistive devices or orthoses. Sandra’s biggest challenge has been to overcome her unstable gait due to a spinal cord injury. She has been working with Brian Lee for the last 6 months to learn and adapt to her new device.
Collier Solution: By applying the reciprocating gait orthosis, Brian was able to give Sandra the stability to stand and transfer the strength and momentum of her upper body to her legs. She can now ambulate and feels the sensation of lower extremity muscle contraction. She is very hopeful to continue to progress toward independent ambulation.
As you can see by the video, Sandra Thomas is determined and knows it will not be easy – our reward is to see how excited and grateful she is to receive this device that will help her toward her goal.
Are you interested in learning more about RGO development? Ask a Collier Practitioner below, or call us for a consultation.
Sophia’s mother was concerned that Sophia always slouched severely and seemed to be in pain. She also always looked down, and could not make eye contact with those around her.
Practitioner Brian Lee cast Sophia sitting upright to maintain lumbar and kyphotic curves in the ideal position, and with appropriate scapular adduction and shoulder retraction. Secondarily, the goal was to maintain her cervical spine in extension.
Over the last 6 months, Mom has reported that Sophia seems happier, and is able to look up and see the world around her and, most importantly, make eye contact.
SCI Active Network is a positive network that connects Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) survivors and their families through peer mentoring, and empowers an active lifestyle towards mobility, independence, and a higher quality of life.
Troy is a spinal cord injury survivor and Founder/ CEO of SCI Active Network – a community for spinal cord injury survivors. They welcome survivors AND their families to join and participate so they can network, learn and be supportive of their loved one – and their loved one can connect to those with similar life challenges.
A Collier patient since 2004, Troy received an RGO through Kaiser Rehabilitation in Vallejo. Troy has been using his RGO therapeutically with a walker, as well as at home and during public demonstrations. Troy started mentoring patients and therapists on how RGO’s work, and he saw a real need for peers to connect to share valuable information and encouragement.
Since 2015, Troy has worked to connect, support and encourage SCI survivors to be active in living life. Spinal Cord Injury Active Network has trained peer mentors to visit, speak and teach classes at Northern California Rehabilitation Centers and community events in the Bay Area.
SCI Active Network also hosts over a dozen family-inclusive activities a year at different locations throughout Northern California, plus provide a monthly support network meeting in Solano County, CA.
One of the most important missions for founder Troy Plunkett is the Share-A-Chair program. Donated lightweight wheelchairs are provided to survivors in need to increase their mobility, independence, and quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injury Active Network is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax-deductible. You can donate, volunteer or participate by visiting their website at sciactivenetwork.org.
SCI Active Network
P.O. Box 3434
Vallejo, CA 94590
Andre Christian, father of a boy who received a prosthetic made by J.R. Brandt at our Sacramento location, reached out to us with an update about his son’s achievements.
This photo was taken after Stephen pushed his wheelchair for 15 miles on the American River Bike Trail. Stephen is a Warrior!
“Our son Stephen has been the beneficiary of a prosthetic made by J.R. in your Sacramento facility and was under his care for a couple of years. Last year Stephen joined a wheelchair basketball program and it was truly life changing for him. The friendships, flying to tournaments, discipline from weekly training, learning to overcoming challenges, independence, working as a team and the increase in his confidence was truly remarkable.”
Do you know someone in the greater Sacramento area who wants to experience the many benefits and FUN of our wheelchair basketball program? Please share this post.
Christian Rodriguez with the Sacramento Royals, works to create opportunities for physically challenged persons. The JV Team practices at the Sacramento YMCA (downtown on W), and there is a Recreational Team which competes through the Northern California Recreational League. He can be reached at 916-228-1755 or visit sacroyals.com.
Mr. Cutchlow came to see Collier Practitioner Ray Diaz for a pair of new braces, and expressed frustration with his instability due to his Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Upon evaluation, Ray noticed the patient had more than just weak inverters/evertors. He also had no plantar flexion and dorsiflexion strength.
Prior to the Phat braces he was using a walking aide, now he’s not. As you can see in the video, his gait is much more stable and his speed improved.
The previous AFOs (Arizona braces) were not picking up his foot, causing him to buckle and fall when ambulating.
Ray introduced the Phat braces to Mr. Cutchlow. These braces will provide the stance control and swing phase, and resolve the weak medial lateral ankle instability. The Arizona braces provided nothing for the absent plantar and dorsiflexion.
The day Mr. Cutchlow came back for delivery of his Phat braces he couldn’t believe the balance, stability, and confidence the braces were giving him.
Mr. Cutchlow has had two follow up visits. The first visit was to see how the braces are working for him. The second visit was a minor adjustment. It feels very rewarding to know Mr. Cutchlow’s goals were achieved and that it also built up his confidence to do more enjoyable things with his grandkids.
Mikhaila Rutherford is 26 years old and, and with her new prosthesis, she is more ambulatory and ready to enjoy her new career in nursing without the hassles and limitations of her old and worn out prosthetic device.
Four years ago, Mikhaila came to our lead prosthetic practitioner with some challenges:
She would be challenging to fit due to multiple surgeries to resolve her subluxating patella (knee cap).
A short trans tibial residual limb.
Her current foot did not allow for any flexibility when walking on slopes of any kind.
George was able to get approval through the insurance for the best possible device for Mickhaila. Watch the video to see how Mickhaila demonstrates her new prosthesis with an articulating ankle.
She was fit with an Alps AKDT locking liner and Patellar Tendon Bearing Supra Patellar Supra Condylar (PTB SCSP) socket design to help stabilize her knee in the medial lateral plane. For her last fitting, she was provided a foot with an articulating hydraulic ankle which can accommodate going up and down sloped terrain.
Mickhaila can now get back to daily living with a lot more mobility when hiking and being outdoors. We look forward to hearing about her new career as a nurse when she comes back for a check up.
Mickhaila has been a patient of George Villarruel at Collier O and P for the last 4 years. If you would like to see more of our patient success stories, visit our patient outcomes page.
Rick Todd COF, managing partner at Collier Orthotics & Prosthetics, has many great things to say about JR when interviewed by BOC, and the positive impact he had on their growing business.
Why does JR deserve this award?
Because he is knowledgeable in Orthotics and Prosthetics, BOC accreditation standards, Medicare standards and his outstanding service with patients. He has the ability to give of himself and teach in the area of Orthotics and Prosthetics as well as everyday life. JR has the ability to communicate with physicians and physical therapists on difficult cases. He works for the overall interest of the business and outcome as a whole, not income alone. Follow up is assured in all of the above areas. JR is an amazing family man and great friend, even if I didn’t always want to hear what he had to say.
How did you meet JR, and what has been the impact of his service throughout your career?
I originally met JR in 1992 when I was a Bledsoe sales representative in Northern California. JR ran the Shriners Orthotic and Prosthetic practice in both San Francisco and then in Sacramento. When dealing with JR in regards to product purchases he was very respectful of my position even though I was just a salesman peddling products to Shriners. He always treated me with the utmost respect and every time I saw him he had some funny story to tell me, as well he was full of information and willing to teach.
I did not see JR for many years except at an occasional trade show. When I would bump into him it was just like I had seen him in the past. He was friendly, great to talk with and like a long lost friend and always full of knowledge.
In 2012 I was in the midst of growing my first orthotic practice. I started to work with Jim Hewlett in regards to accreditation through BOC and applying for my first Medicare license. At that time I found out that JR was working with BOC as well as Jim Hewlett and doing site surveys. We rekindled our relationship. Jim let me know that JR was interested in getting back to seeing patients again, and that he would like to do patient care. I then hired JR as the director of Orthotics for my company.
JR was an open book and not only was he a fantastic practitioner; he is very accomplished in our field.
Watch the presentation, JR says Thank You.
He was helpful in all the Medicare and accreditation rules, and if he didn’t have the answer he has a relationship with someone who did. He was also very helpful in the setup of our second Orthotic and Prosthetic facility. He understood from his Shriner days, the function of utilizing space in a manufacturing area. He was also helpful in finding the appropriate products and tools to set up a state of the art manufacturing facility. In the early days of this new business he had the ability to streamline systems, bring employees together, and communicate with physicians about patients and product philosophy, as well as the biomechanics that went along with this. JR has the ability and interest to get the best outcome of all situations, and give of himself as a mentor and a teacher to my staff.
Not a day goes by without thinking how he is doing in his present situation. JR was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on September 4th 2016 and underwent seven rounds of intense chemotherapy. He was a candidate for a Bone Marrow Transplant at Stanford University Hospital and after an exhausting international search a 10/10 donor was located. On March 30th JR received his transplant and after 100 days of living at Stanford he is finally home recovering and in remission. He still has a long road to go in recovering his blood counts, energy and general wellbeing but he is as always in good spirits and we at Collier continue to wish him and his family well.
His smile and jovialness is missed by all at Collier Orthotics and Prosthetics and we hope to be able to see him soon.
Certain pediatric orthopedic conditions require the knowledge and skill of a specialized pediatric orthotic specialist.
We address the concerns of the family as we care for our young patients and make sure they are fully informed about the care their child receives.
Our specialist care includes both injuries and congenital birth disorders which can include fractures, bone and joint disorders, spinal disorders, and neuromuscular disorders.
Brian holds clinics at 4 different California Children’s Services locations throughout the Bay Area.
“Working with kids is my favorite, probably because of their positive attitudes and almost constant smiles! Another benefit of working with CCS is the open communication. Being able to discuss treatment plans with each child’s PT creates a huge advantage for each patient’s progress. From TLSOs to arch supports I feel like I can make a positive difference in their little lives.” Brian Lee, CPO
Although this is a dramatic depiction of a transfemoral patient with a significant hip flexion contracture, it is something many above knee amputees and their prosthetist deal with to various degrees. A Thomas test would show that this patient has a contracture of approximately 35 to 40 degrees.
The picture on the left shows the weight line or TKA line, bisecting the socket with the center of his mechanical knee so far in front of the line that weight bearing on this alignment would certainly cause the patient to feel unstable and possibly collapse. Even if the patient could stand on this alignment it would create a lordosis or arching of his lower back. He would be in pain in no time as his lordosis compensates for the lack of hip flexion aligned onto this prosthesis.
By simply adding a flexion plate to his existing alignment (purple arrow) the patient can now stand on his prosthesis with greater stability and confidence.
The weight line on the picture on the right shows it bisecting the socket and going slightly anterior to the center of his mechanical knee and down to the middle of his foot creating an inherently stable alignment from which the patient can feel safe ambulating on.
George is an American Board Certified Prosthetist with over 25 years of experience focused solely in the practice of prosthetics. As the Director of Prosthetics for Collier, he is responsible for lower and upper extremity prosthetic patient care. His experience ranges from infancy to geriatrics.