Of New Fallen Snow

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Andrea Spridgen

As I sat down to write this month’s viewpoint, reflecting on fresh ways to approach O&P patient care, outcome measurements, and new challenges in prosthetists’ skillsets, a blanket of new fallen snow covered the park outside my window. Although I’m not a fan of the cold, as a Colorado native I’ve always loved the beauty of fluffy white snow covering the ground. As we head into January, the glistening white landscape creates a blank slate that seems a fitting metaphor for the new year when so many of us embrace new challenges— which brings me back to the theme of our issue of emerging approaches in O&P.

Our cover feature, "Patients With Osseointegrated Implants: Challenges and Possibilities for Prosthetists," looks at the use of osseointegration (OI) for patients with transfemoral amputations. OI has been used for more than 30 years in Germany but presents a new type of patient encounter for many U.S. prosthetists as Integrum’s Osseoanchored Prostheses for the Rehabilitation of Amputees (OPRA) device is approved for humanitarian use in the United States. Because prosthetists’ expertise in providing a comfortable, well-fitting socket is not necessary for these patients, it has led some to feel that OI is a threat to the profession. However, the prosthetist’s knowledge in ensuring appropriate prosthetic technology is provided and the device is properly aligned remains critical to optimal outcomes. As Roy Bloebaum, PhD, explains, “Prosthetists may have to find new ways to care for their patients with OI implants, but that doesn’t mean their role is any less necessary in the future.”

Putting forth another approach to O&P patient care is research discussed in “Bracing the Boomers: Using AFOs to Address the Sensory Deficits That Accompany Age, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Diabetes." AFOs are most frequently used to address musculoskeletal deficits, however, this article takes a fresh perspective by examining their potential to improve sensory input to compromised limbs and therefore increase balance and reduce fall risk.

This month’s final feature, “Going to PROM? Reviewing Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in the Management of Neurologic Hemiplegia,” encourages readers to consider alternate methods of measuring outcomes in patients who are treated with orthotic interventions after suffering a stroke.

With this issue, you may also notice a minor change to The O&P EDGE ’s classified ad section. The listings will now be ordered from Pacific region to Eastern region; multiple region listings and for sale or miscellaneous ads will still be found at the end of the section.

Returning to my metaphor of the possibilities that snowy white canvas outside my window represents, I wish you a hopeful New Year, full of fresh possibilities.

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