Your Health November 14, 2013 Birmingham man with bionic feet - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health November 14, 2013 Birmingham man with bionic feet

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Birmingham, AL -

Life is an open road...to live and be free.
       That's Mike Wisham's philosophy.
      Despite chronic health challenges and the amputation of both legs.
       Now he has a new confidence.
 He's the first bilateral amputee in Birmingham to receive new bionic feet.
   ABC 33/40's  Linda Mays has his story.

       Life changed for Mike Wisham at the age of 32.
       The former billboard poster or worker became an amputee after a back injury, surgery, inflammation of the vascular system and a severe illness doctors had difficulty diagnosing.
       
        Mike Wisham says, "I woke up one morning my right foot black as my shoe."  
          He lost his right leg in 2000.
          His muscle mass was being eaten away.
         Wisham says within a week and a half later his left foot developed an ulcer.
         Gangrene set in and eventually he lost his left foot too in 2002.
     With no insurance, a year passed before he got his first prosthetics at  Hanger  Prosthetics and Orthotics in Birmingham.
      There is a conventional type of prosthetic feet Wisham was fitted with years ago.
       Prosthetist, Todd Clay at Hanger Clinic says, "This technology  has been good more Mike but there was no ankle no movement in here."
      Clay gives us a look at the new bionic foot.  It's a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic foot called the Elan on his computer.
    It's a new bionic foot.

      Clay says, "The big difference with the Elan foot we've added microprocessor in the ankle so now the microprocessor gives feedback real time assessment which allows him to give him assistance going up a hill or gives him resistance going down a hill and it assesses that gait as he's walking to provide stability."

      Wisham says, "I used to avoid stuff like this now I don't even pay attention to when I step up  I just go at it mostly none stop."

        But, Wisham can now walk with confidence, that wasn't the case before.

     Wisham says, "If I had to go down driveway I'd turn side ways and step side ways because my feet would not allow me; If I'd walk I would've tumbled."

       Clay says, "If mike need to have more resistance we can make an adjustment on the computer to provide that resistance."  Before that though feet instability and discomfort at the socket of the artificial legs is what brought him to specialists at Hanger Clinic.   

       Wisham says, "The other was basic socket that clipped into the leg it was solid from here down."  So, In addition to the Elan feet, Wisham now  has a microprocessor to advance the function of both of his prosthesis.
 
     Wisham shows us how the smart system automatically senses and monitors the vacuum level in the socket.

   He shows us the button, as the green light comes on.  He says, "It keeps me seeded in there it's a perfect at all times."

     Clay says, "He's also got a microprocessor to control the fit of this socket elevated vacuum. So the socket sensors control the pressure that's inside there so if he gets a loose fit throughout the day body weight he might drop, those sockets sense the microprocessor senses a loose fit and vacuum kicks on to tighten up those sockets."

   Wisham shows us the connection point that allows him to ''charge'' the microprocessors every night.

    His new bionic feet has literally put some pep into Wisham's step and new life.
    He takes pride in his new prosthetics and wants to encourage others, Life doesn't have to come to a stop.
    
     Wisham says, "I like showing them off.  I want folks to know the technology is out there. That will allow them to carry on with life."

     Clay says, the bionic feet or prosthetic legs with a microprocessor are covered by most insurance.

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