In 1999, at age 19, Amy came home with what she thought was the flu. Just 24 hours later, she was in the hospital, given a two percent chance of living. Bacterial meningitis was taking its toll on her body and after two and a half months of hospitalization, Amy had lost her spleen, both kidneys, hearing in her left ear, and both legs below the knee.
Today, despite the odds, Amy is an Olympic snowboarder, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a motivational spokeswoman, actress, and now, a dancer. Amy Purdy has inspired the country in season 18 of ABC’s reality favorite Dancing with the Stars, with an array of performances that were nothing short of incredible.
She and her partner, Derek Hough, consistently impressed both the judges and viewers with their breath taking performances, and eventually placed second in the competition.
Freedom Innovations designed the high-tech prosthetics Amy wore during her medal-winning snowboarding efforts at the Sochi games, and also helped fit the star with special prosthetics for her Dancing with the Stars performances.
The Runway allowed Amy to wear heels while providing the dynamic flexibility she needed for several of the performances throughout the competition. The Nitro gave her the bounce and lightning fast energy return she needed to dance the Quick Step.
However, the performance that caught most everyones eyes was the tear-jerking tribute to her father in week three, in which Amy danced on pointed toes. She seemed to defy gravity throughout the dance, standing on the tips of her rubber and carbon fiber feet. Technically designed for high performance swimming, the company’s angled Freestyle Swim feet enabled Amy to perform on pointed toes for the graceful and emotionally resonant dance choreographed by Hough.
While Amy’s dance was dedicated to her father, the show’s judges commented that her performance also sent a resounding message of determination and hope for those who have lost limbs, and for anyone facing adversity.
Amy has helped to change the perception of the abilities of those living with limb loss and continues to inspire millions along the way.Send us your inspirational story.
There are a lot of prosthetic devices available today. How do I know which prosthetic foot or knee is best for me?
There are many variables that must be considered when selecting a prosthetic foot or knee product. This includes the height and weight of the product as well as the functional benefits it offers. There are also considerations around your body weight, requirements for battery-power, water resistance, etc. Your mobility ‘K-Level’, as defined by Medicare, will determine the types of technology your insurance will cover. All of these things must be carefully reviewed and analyzed by your prosthetist. And it’s important that you voice your lifestyle concerns, functional goals and aspirations as a part of the evaluation process.
We offer a broad range of prosthetic foot products in an effort to meet the varying needs of amputees globally. Our foot products are divided into six subcategories based on the type of user profile they accommodate best.
K2– New, or single-speed ambulator, requires stability for lower impact activities.
Active – Requires dynamic performance for everyday use, sports, and higher impact vocations.
Everyday – Classic ambulator, requires good performance for K3-level low to moderate impact activities, primarily walking.
Style – Prioritizes cosmetics and/or seeks heel height adjustability.
Specialty – Requires specialized prosthesis due to amputation level or body weight.
Extreme Sports – Seeking sports-specific prosthesis to optimize athletic performance.
Can I buy Freedom Innovations products direct?
Freedom Innovations products should be fitted and ordered by qualified prosthetists. We are unable to sell directly to the public. Your prosthetist will make sure that you are measured and fit properly to achieve the best possible results. He or she will also be able to discuss pricing and insurance coverage.
How do I find a prosthetist in my area?
Use our Prosthetist Finder tool to find a prosthetist in your area familiar with our product line. Many of these prosthetists have completed the Freedom Institute of Technology’s (FIT) clinical education programs designed to ensure the best outcomes with our products. This includes coursework on carbon fiber foot selection and fitting and how to properly fit and program the Plié Knee.
How soon after the amputation surgery can a prosthetic foot or knee be fit?
The process can begin once your residual limb has healed. Normally it takes approximately four to eight weeks to heal as long as there are no post-operative complications involved.
Will I be able to do all of the things I did before I lost my limb?
Our goal at Freedom Innovations is to allow you to achieve your full potential. We have many, many success stories in which our customers have gone back and excelled at the activities they once enjoyed. Some individuals even find that they are motivated to challenge themselves with new hobbies and athletic activities. The key is staying motivated and working with a good network of healthcare professionals including your prosthetist, physical and occupational therapists, and others. And of course, we are committed to providing the prosthetic technology that will enable you to achieve your goals.
Get inspired by visiting our User Spotlight page!
Is wearing a prosthesis painful?
Acclimating to life as a new amputee is not without its challenges. Achieving a good socket fit is critical and it can take time because revisions are often needed to accommodate your limb, which will change in size and shape especially in the beginning. However, your prosthesis should not be painful. If you are uncomfortable, especially if you begin to experience skin breakdowns, contact your prosthetist for an adjustment. He or she is committed to your health, comfort and overall well-being.
How will my prosthesis stay on?
There are many different suspension options to ensure that your prosthesis stays attached to your residual limb. This includes various socket shapes, pin locking systems and vacuum suspensions. Talk to your prosthetist about the best option for your anatomy and your lifestyle.
What kind of shoes can I wear with my foot product?
You can wear many different types of shoes, including boots, sneakers, dress shoes, sandals and even high heels with certain prosthetic foot technology. Our Runway foot allows you to walk barefoot at home (no heel height) in the morning and with a simple adjustment, transition to wearing heels up to 2 inches (5 cm) for work or a night out. We also offer the broadest range of sandal toe options for those that love to wear ‘flip-flops’ or sandals during the summer months. Read more here.
Lastly, don’t forget to bring your favorite shoes to your prosthetist so the possibilities can be explored and, if necessary, a fit test can be conducted.
How long will my prosthesis last?
The life of your prosthesis will vary depending on how much you use it, how well you take care of it, and the general environment in which it operates. Our foot and knee products are generally sold with a 36 month warranty. (Product-specific warranty periods are listed on each product webpage.) Liners have a shorter life expectancy and are sold with a 6-12 month warranty.
Ask your prosthetist for instructions regarding the proper care and cleaning techniques for your prosthetic leg.
Are there any resources available for new amputees?
Yes! There are many online resources and support groups that provide vital information for new amputees and their families. Use these resources to connect with others who have overcome similar challenges. The Amputee Coalition of America provides a listing of over 260 support groups. To locate a group in your area, please click: http://www.amputee-coalition.org/support-groups-peer-support/support-group-network/index.asp
360 O&P is an online tool for people in the Orthotic and Prosthetic community to both learn and share information, technologies and their experience with others. It also provides the ability for medical professionals to communicate and educate directly to those within the O & P Community.
The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC)
The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics is the national certifying and accrediting body for the orthotic and prosthetic professions. Use the directory search to locate certified clinicians in your area.
The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA)
The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, through government relations efforts, works to raise awareness of the profession and impact policies that affect the future of the O&P industry.
Adaptive Action Sports
Co-founded by Amy Purdy, Adaptive Action Sports creates skateboard, snowboard, and other action sport camps, events and programs for youth, young adults and wounded veterans living with permanent physical disabilities, TBI and PTSD.
Amputee Coalition of America (ACA)
Amputee Coalition of America reaches out to people with limb loss and empowers them through education, support and advocacy.
Disabled Sports USA
Seeks to provide the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to gain confidence and dignity through participation in sports, recreation and related educational programs.
A global resource for orthotic and prosthetic information.
Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund (OPAF)
Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund enables individuals served by the orthotic and prosthetic community to enjoy the rewards of personal achievement, physical fitness and social interaction.