Prosthetists and Orthotists Day 7th September 2023

Organized by the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO), this day isn’t just a date on the calendar; it’s a beacon of recognition and appreciation for the exceptional work done by prosthetists and orthotists. Their contributions often remain hidden in the background, but on this day, we shine the spotlight on these incredible healthcare professionals.TalarMade is not just celebrating our own amazing, dream Orthotic team but all Orthotists and Prosthetists today on National Prosthetists and Orthotist Day 2023!

Find out what inspires, motivates and drives our team in the world of Orthotics! (All we did was ask them a few questions; let’s say their answers were revealing!)

 

Agata Godynska
Orthotist – TalarMade Ltd

My name is Agata. I graduated from Salford University two years ago and joined Talarmade as a graduate Orthotist in Lincolnshire. This was a great place to start my career with learning opportunities and working alongside experienced clinicians.

I feel that what I do every day is making a difference. It is extremely rewarding to keep people mobile and independent and see their smiles. My goal is that patients feel involved in their care and can get back to doing what they like to do.I enjoy working with kids, and I’m interested in diabetes and foot and ankle conditions.

I’m so lucky as I’m using high-technology equipment such as a scanner. For the last year, I’ve been prescribing made-to-measure footwear from the scan. This new approach completely improved patient experience and satisfaction. It’s lovely to hear that my orthotics department is progressing. It was the best decision to become an Orthotist, and I love the fact that I’m learning every day.

 

 

 

Steven Musgrave
Orthotist – TalarMade Ltd

I have Perthes disease, and I have been under the care of an orthotist since I was a young boy. I was aware of the profession, but as I was starting as a mature student, the free course really sold it for me. Leaving university without thousands of pounds of debt made it very appealing. Only after becoming an orthotist did I learn it could be as rewarding as it is as I initially started out wanting to do prosthetics and work with Paralympians.

My areas of interest within P&O are teaching and education. I enjoy taking fresh minds and adapting them to the real world of the clinic. I try to be the best I can, helping shape them for the future. I enjoy my paediatric clinics by helping the youngsters.

Working alongside other AHPs is something we don’t often get to do as much as I would like, but when we do, it is always more beneficial to the patient. I am lucky enough to do a clinic alongside a physiotherapist, and this is the best clinic I do. The joint effort and approaching tasks from different perspectives really make the treatment we give the very best.

Advancements – We are now scanning for Footwear with marvellous results. I see other companies’ 3D printing orthoses. But for me, 3D printed insoles are the next revolutionary development within P&O once they can make it affordable for companies to use. Having the ability to scan the foot and print a custom insole within hours is massive in terms of treatment.

Most rewarding – being in a secure job, helping people get their life back on track, giving people hope.

I am a keen traveller; I have my campervan, which I take out most weekends and explore the wonderful nature of the UK, soon to be outside of Europe if I can afford it. I am bang average at most sports I participate in, i.e. golf, football, snowboarding, and I am sure there are more. We are expecting our first child in 2024, and I can’t wait to spend all my time with him/her. One goal of mine one day is to play the piano and spend my free time trying to make the world a better place.
 

Rachel Summers
Senior Orthotist – TalarMade Ltd

What made you choose a career in Orthotics?
I visited an informative open day at Salford University and accepted a place on the P&O course in 2003.

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?
After nearly ten years at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, paediatrics became part of my life. I specialised in ponseti treatment, working in a multidisciplinary team with Consultants, Physiotherapists and the Plaster Room team. Whether it’s supporting a position as they grow, providing protection or helping them have a smoother gait pattern, it’s all very rewarding.

How do you work with/ collaborate with other AHPs within the hospital or community setting to benefit the patient?
I work mainly in hospitals but also within a school setting for children with additional needs. This includes working alongside Physiotherapists and Physio TIs. This helps each child to be seen within their own school environment whilst also helping working parents not have to attend every appointment.

What technological advancements have you seen within the Orthotics field over your career?
When I first started practising 16 years ago, there was a limited selection of paediatric stock products, and many had to be made to measure for even a simple orthosis. Now, orthotic companies have a wider choice and size range. We’ve also trialled different materials for capturing a patient’s shape, from plaster to synthetic materials, meaning we can be cleaner!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is when I walk into a classroom and a patient shouts…’ Rachel!’ No matter how challenging a patient’s needs are, I relish the opportunity to improve their quality of life, whether that be big or small.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have
I enjoy photography, arts and crafts with my little girl, and I love holidaying!

 

David Buchannan
Technical Director and Consulting Orthotist

What made you choose a career in Orthotics?
I was ill for a long time whilst an aircraft engineer for the MOD and a senior member of RAF Mountain Rescue. During this time, I met a Physio student and helped her with her hydrotherapy theory and biomechanics revision.

We stayed together, marrying after 22 years. At one point, she strongly suggested I should consider going to university to train to do this awesome job she found whilst she did a placement in north Wales. The rest, as they say, is history.

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?
In the Kafo guy. Knee-Ankle-foot-orthoses are what I’m best known for, including stance control systems. I’ve actually led the design of one of the most successful line of systems in use in the UK and Western Europe/USA.

However, my main interest is “The Just Enough Approach” to enhancing stability, motor function, strength and neuroplastic facilitation. This encompasses AFO and KAFO in any format and is a simple way to “potentially” apply rehabilitation potential through managed range of motion and speed by utilising prescriptions or designs that can be altered in the clinic based on the changing needs of end users.

How do you work with/ collaborate with other AHP’s within the hospital or community setting to benefit the patient?
In the UK and further afield, my role is primarily one of mentorship and training through shared experiences. I will often attend with clinicians and MDT teams where a lack of experience is acknowledged, or one of a number of potential factors affecting outcome exist.

At TalarMade and Becker, we are Lucky to be trusted to offer KAFO courses to a growing number of professional bodies around the globe. It may seem contradictory, but I learn more from the students than they get from me. It’s a great job!

What technological advancements have you seen within the Orthotics field over your career?
E-Mag Active gave me a career start and allowed me to specialise. C-Brace came next and was instrumental in my eventually working in Germany. But apart from the complex and high-end/sexy devices, there is a continuing move towards stance-stabilised AFO and KAFO. With this approach, we are increasingly able to help the end-user manipulate their centre of mass effectively to provide stability whilst calling on muscle groups to act optimally based on their potential.

I think orthotists utilising this approach more will lead to better outcomes for many types of users… and potential periodic or eventual non-users. But we must start writing papers that show kinetics and kinematics above the waist.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The click of enlightenment when a mentee gets what we are talking about. It happens a lot because it’s not rocket science, just mechanics.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have
I eat vindaloo but am no fun to be around afterwards.

When I was a little younger, I was a fully sponsored 24-hour Solo Mountain bike Racer and managed to set some records. One of them even ended up in THE book. Before that, I flew Paragliders for a French firm but nearly died being a smart Alec. Oops.

 

Renad Albasri
Orthotist – Talarmade Ltd.

What made you choose a career in Orthotics?
Orthotics is a unique and rewarding career. It is a field that is constantly advancing and offers a great variety. is a profession that aligns well with my skills, interests and a desire to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives.

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?
My special interests are paediatrics, neuromuscular conditions and experimenting with different AFO designs to innovate and challenge our current prescription practices. I am also interested in research and improving evidence-based practice within orthotics.

How do you work with/ collaborate with other AHP’s within the hospital or community setting to benefit the patient?
I work in a multidisciplinary paediatric orthopaedic clinic every week alongside orthopaedic consultants, physiotherapists, orthopaedic practioners and advance clinical practioners. Together, we conduct comprehensive patient assessments and provide a holistic treatment plan, this may include serial casting, surgery, injections and of course, orthotics! As part of my role within the paediatric orthopaedic team, I occasionally see patients in the operating theatre with the consultants and cast them for AFOs or KAFOs following surgery.

What technological advancements have you seen with in the Orthotics field over your career?
I recently attended the ISPO conference in Guadalajara where I had the opportunity to see how we are incorporating technological advancements such as additive manufacturing, material science, pressure sensors and gait analysis to innovative and build on our existing knowledge. I am particularly fascinated by the developments in gait analysis and motion capture systems and how we can incorporate these advancements into our own assessments and treatment plans.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding and fulfilling part of my job is helping patients achieve their goals, whether it is to be more confident and stable walking, reduce pain or to regain their independence following a stroke or an injury.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have
I love to travel, next on my list is Japan, Singapore and South Korea! I also enjoy baking, reading and weightlifting.

 

Adam Ball
Senior Orthotist – Talarmade Ltd

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?
Spinal Trauma, footwear, complex lower limbs and an increasing interest in KAFOs.

How do you work with/ collaborate with other AHPs within the hospital or community setting to benefit the patient?
I provide regular training to AHPs on a wide range of topics. This helps to show what we do as a service and how, together, we can help our patients. I also promote MDT as much as possible, regularly communicating with AHPs through clinical discussions, all with the aim of benefiting the patient’s experience and outcome goals.

What technological advancements have you seen within the Orthotics field over your career?
Scanning technologies have come a long way. I am very excited to see what the future holds within the footwear manufacturing industry. The increasing range of knee and ankle joints has completely transformed my clinical experience and improved the patient’s outcome.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is watching my patients grow in confidence and sharing stories of how the orthoses have improved their quality of life.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have.
I am a season ticket holder for Wigan Athletic (I don’t know why I put myself through that)
I have found a new love for camping. I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with my family.

 

Katie Connery
Orthotist – Talarmade Ltd.

What made you choose a career in Orthotics?
As a child, I competed as part of a middle-distance track team in Staffordshire. I developed a foot injury, which led me to seek orthotic intervention. The insoles I received allowed me to continue my much-loved track running pain-free. This sparked an interest in biomechanics, and I completed work experience with a Senior Orthotist in Stoke. I was hooked and completed my A levels and degree in order to secure a career in Orthotics.

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?

I find working with children deeply rewarding, and this brings me a sense of personal fulfilment.

I enjoy witnessing the growth and development of children and helping them remain mobile and active where possible. By providing Orthotic intervention from infancy through to adolescents, working in paediatrics allows me to build lasting relationships with parents and families.
I also have an interest in diabetes and managing high-risk foot complications such as neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. These complications can result in diabetic foot ulcers, infections and even amputations. I am drawn to the collaborative nature of both these areas, and I enjoy the opportunity to work within a supportive MDT setting.

How do you work with/collaborate with other AHPs within the hospital or community setting to
benefit the patient?
I work within a diabetic foot multidisciplinary team (MDT) alongside podiatry, endocrinology, wound care specialists and diabetic nurses. This allows me to understand the scope and goals of the diabetic specialist clinic. I can get familiar with the clinic’s objectives, the patient population and devices. I am then able to contribute as part of the team, offering my expertise in offloading and biomechanics. Engaging in MDT meetings allows me to discuss more complex cases and develop comprehensive treatment plans. Other HCPs share their expertise, and collectively, we can then determine the best approach for the patient.

What technological advancements have you seen within the Orthotics field over your career?
The field of Orthotics is continuously evolving with advancements in technology and research. The most clinically impactful in my career has been the use of a handheld scanner to better capture anatomy in order to manufacture orthoses. This new technology improves the fit and repeatability of the orthoses, improving the patient experience. Another development is the application of wireless pressure sensor systems such as the X-Sensor. This means that as a team, we can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and modify treatments plans if needed.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is making a positive difference in the lives of patients and their families. Working for Talarmade Orthotics within an NHS setting provides me with the time and opportunity to best develop my areas of expertise. I am surrounded by positive work relationships and am supported by my coworkers. In the long term, this provides the opportunity for innovation and advancement.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have
Outside of work, I continue to enjoy middle-distance running and travelling whenever possible. I also enjoy a good steak pie and a glass of wine at the weekends.

 

Simon Dickinson
Clinical Director & Consultant Orthotist

What made you choose a career in Orthotics?
I love physics and problem-solving. Every day clinically presents different challenges. Helping people improve is incredibly rewarding.

What are your areas of special interest in Orthotics?
Lower limb orthotics and biomechanics. I enjoy finding mechanical solutions to physical problems.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping my colleagues and patients improve.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have.

I started playing cricket after a 30-year gap. I love the game but keep getting injured. . . i’m getting old!

 

Adam Horrocks
Clinical Specialist / Clinical Service Lead – TalarMade Ltd

How do you work with/ collaborate with other AHPs within the hospital or community setting to benefit the patient?
Working within a community paediatric service three days per week for over ten years gave me a greater understanding of rehabilitation and maximising potential. Working with children with additional needs gave me a chance to use my problem-solving skills with physiotherapists to think outside of the box.

What technological advancements have you seen within the Orthotics field over your career?
Fifteen years ago, scanning technologies were in their infancy; they were big bulky and impractical to use on a day-to-day basis. Fast forward to iPads with scanners small enough to fit in your pocket, and we have made some pretty significant leaps forward. This, paired with 3D printing, has seen big advances in sustainability, speed and accuracy. It will be interesting to see where this leads us in the future.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I love seeing people reaching and surpassing their potential, whether it is a patient running pain-free, further than they ever thought possible, or a member of our team giving a presentation for the first time. Supporting people to improve is my passion.

Tell us a fun fact, hobby or interest outside of work you have

At the age of 8, I became a childhood superstar on Playbus, the Peggy Patch Stop, to be exact, and I have loved the limelight ever since!

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