The Jury Is In On My Foot!

“Left foot, Left foot, Left foot, Right…
In the house,
and on the street
how many, many
feet you meet.
Up in the air feet,
Over a chair feet.
More and more feet
Twenty-four feet
Here come
more and more…………..
……….and more feet!
Left foot. Right foot.
Feet. Feet. Feet.
Oh, how many
feet you meet!” Dr. Seuss

IMG_0776Right foot, Right foot, Ossur foot? That’s right – in my house, on my street and in my town, my Ossur foot is the interesting foot that you might meet. People are always quite impressed with it and I get a kick out of showing it off. They are intrigued with its techy, gadget look that is unlike any other prosthetic leg they have seen. And it’s when I do my little dance to show the range of motion my Re-Flex Shock has that they get impressed. If they are lucky I do a few squat jumps just to show off a bit.

I have now had my Ossur foot for about two months and it has changed how I walk with my prosthesis dramatically. I roll through my steps effortlessly. It’s an amazing feeling that I am so grateful for and will never take for granted.

Prosthetic legs are expensive, and insurance only pays for one at a time. So I wanted a foot that would give me good function for all my activities. Or the best possible you could get in one foot. I needed it to offer the best vertical shock absorption for high-impact activities and still function for basic walking. Therefore, I did my research and found the foot that I felt was best for my highly active life.

Here are the magic words that convinced me that this was the right foot: “Re-Flex Shock with EVO offers the best vertical shock absorption of all the Össur mechanical feet. With dynamic energy return and all around responsiveness the foot is a great choice for active users. The composite spring in front provides optimal shock absorption that reduces impact subjected to the body. Enhancing both control and comfort during walking and other activities. This is a real heavy-duty foot for all sorts of activities and high-impact sports” (taken from Ossur website).

I had read the specifications on many prosthetic feet, and the Re-Flex Shock was the one that kept standing out in my mind. I also watched videos of different people discussing their feet and demonstrating what they could do. While all very impressive, the video that struck me the most was one that featured a Re-Flex Shock user called Jim Bonney. Jim heads up a unique rehab organization for amputees called Adventure Rehab ( By the way, someday I would love start a similar organization. He was living without limits and doing it all on his Re-Flex Shock foot. The vision that kept playing in my head was watching him running through the woods, leaping on and off logs, rocks, and any obstacle that was in his way. As I watched the video over and over, I could see and feel myself running through that woods. It reminded me of how I once navigated the wilderness and I yearned to do again.

With my research in my pocket, I arrived in my prosthetist’s office for my new leg fitting appointment and pulled out my document where I had compared three high-end prosthetic feet; my prosthetist’s go-to foot, the Re-Flex Shock and another comparable foot. He couldn’t argue with what it said about the Re-Flex Shock and agreed that I would not be able run through the woods jumping over logs with the foot he was recommending. A few weeks later I was the first patient to ever walk out of his office with the Re-Flex Shock.

IMG_1467Two months in, I absolutely love my Re-Flex Shock foot. It has made walking so much more natural and comfortable. Walking was something I never thought I would enjoy again. Now with my Re-Flex Shock foot I walk a mile or two each day during my afternoon break and very much enjoy it. I roll through my steps effortlessly and am able to maintain a natural gait. With pants on, people have no idea that I don’t have two natural feet. How it looks is good, but it is the function that is important and that is what I love.

A negative of prosthetic legs is that the foot and ankle are ridged, heavy and have no energy. When you step you get no response or shock resistance, which puts stress on the residual leg. It also makes a natural gait difficult to achieve, putting stress on the sound leg. My foot is energized by EVO (Energy Vector Optimization). EVO controls how the ground reaction force is transferred to the prosthetic foot. It’s sort of like the mechanics of your natural foot helping reduce stress on your leg, knee and hip as you step, absorbing the impact of the ground. This enables an amputee to develop a natural gait, which reduces future problems with the sound leg. When they say it has “dynamic energy return and all-around responsiveness”, they are not kidding. It really does. In fact there are times when I feel like it is alive. One of my favorite experiences with it is when I’m doing something that requires standing for a while, like everyone else I transfer weight from one foot to the other. As I transfer weight over on to my prosthetic, the foot/ankle shifts and adjust. It is an amazing feeling that always makes me smile.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 4.38.08 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 4.37.32 PMWhile outside walking I can go from smooth surfaces to rough irregular surfaces without giving it a thought. Concrete to grass to gravel, and the foot makes all the adjustments. I can go from flat surface to incline without missing a step. I can walk slow, fast, climb stairs and break into a run. At the gym, I can do jumping jacks, squat jumps, and throw boxing punches and kicks with no ill effects from the impact. I have even run up to three miles with my Re-Flex Shock. I am happy to say that it really does meet all my needs, and best of all it makes walking so much more pleasurable. For serious running I will still need a running blade, but I believe my Ossur Re-Flex Shock foot is as close to a natural foot and ankle I can get.

My prosthesist has even stated while watching me walk, “Wow, that foot really does do everything Ossur says it does.” The Re-Flex Shock has been the final piece to restoring my active life.

Having the ability to walk on two feet is an incredible thing. Every day I am grateful that I have been given the gift of walking again. Thank you Ossur!

Disclaimer – The Re-Flex Shock foot is wonderful and everything I said is true. However, please don’t misunderstand, it is still only part of the prosthesis. It is not a natural leg and no matter how advanced the foot is, there will still be stump discomfort after wearing it all day. I am comparing prosthetics to prosthetics, not to a natural leg and foot. The Re-Flex Shock has given me the ability to be more active, work the leg harder and walk for longer periods of time with a whole lot less discomfort.

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About Darryl Partridge

I am a husband, father of three and amputee. I was active all my life, a Certified Ski Instructor, DYI enthusiast and Elementary Special Education Teacher. My life came crashing down when I was 42 years old after suffering a life changing ankle injury. I endured six ankle surgeries that forever changed the anatomy of my lower left leg, ten leg casts, recovery time on crutches that added up in the years and debilitating pain. In the end wound up with a deformed lower leg, chronic pain and unable to walk without crutches. Oh yeah, I also lost my teaching job after the third surgery. Being left a 47 year old unemployed disabled father. I took two years to rebuilt my life using crutches full time, achieving a new career in public health and preparing to amputate my leg. I amputated my lower left leg 9/24/14, 15 months post amputation became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Follow me on my life without limits journey as an amputee. I now hope my stories will help others find some support and comfort in living with their disabilities. Explore my website .com to read my story.
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