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Tips And Tricks For An AFO User!

An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is a custom-made brace used to support muscles, immobilize joints, and/or correct the position of your foot and ankle. It may be made of metal, thermoplastic, or a combination of materials.


Below are some basic tips and tricks for an AFO user!

Choosing a shoe!

There are many companies now that make shoes specifically for children with AFOs. However, if you are on a budget, there are several popular brands that make wide and extra wide shoes in children’s sizes. After doing some research, I stumbled upon Stride Rite. I learned that for clients who wear AFOs, they actually offer a buy one, get one 50 percent off deal. Nordstrom also allows customers to buy two separate sizes of shoes as long as they are no more than one and half sizes different. This is a big money saver for AFO customers.



Some helpful tips to finding a shoe to fit over an AFO.

  1. First and foremost, make sure you bring the AFO to the store with you. This is not the time for guesswork!
  2. Look for a wide or extra wide shoe, particularly with a wide and deep toe box.
  3. Hold the AFO up to the back of the shoe before you ask your child to try it on to see if it is a possible fit.
  4. Remove the insole of the shoe to make more room, if necessary.


Selecting high-quality socks:

A pair of good quality socks is crucial for AFO wearers. You need to protect your child’s skin from the brace rubbing against it throughout the day. You want to look for socks that are moisture-wicking and seamless, as well as wrinkle-resistant. The socks need to be long enough to cover the height of the brace and fold over the top. The socks cannot be too baggy because you don’t want them to fall down. Our SmartKnit socks are excellent for kiddos who wear AFOs. They are seamless, moisture wicking and they fit nice and snuggly, helping them not to slide down.  We even make them in cute patterns now! Check them out on our website or find them on Amazon.


Choosing pants that fit over an AFO.

Honestly, wider leg pants work well over the brace, and most leggings are stretchy enough to stretch over the AFO.

AFOs shouldn’t stop your kiddos from enjoying life! I hope these useful tips can help you and your kiddo successfully navigate the world of AFOs!

Note: All of these tips are also great for wearers of KAFOs (Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis).


How to talk to kids about special needs!

It is easy for us to be uncomfortable around people or situations that are “different.” Often we think it best to pretend the disparities don’t exist, but this doesn’t serve anyone well.

So how do we talk to kids about people with special needs?!

1. Kids with disabilities are also the same as other kids.

In fact, the same can be said for adults. Talk to your child about things he/she and the child with special needs have in common: Do they both have eyes, hair, and hands? What about things you can’t necessarily see? Do you think that little boy/girl has feelings? What do you think he/she likes to play? Some children and adults may have a disability, but they don’t want to be completely defined by it.

SmartKnit AFO socks

2. People with special needs or disabilities are not necessarily sick.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with the right vocabulary to tell your kids about special needs. Let me gently suggest avoiding the words “sick”—as in “That boy has a sickness that makes it harder for him to talk to people.” Some people are born with special needs, and other disabilities happen as the result of an accident or previous illness. The disability itself, though, is not a sickness or something bad. Nor is it something other kids can “catch” — an important distinction to make when explaining disabilities to children.

3. Words matter.

Name calling and jokes at another person’s expense (whether or not that person has a disability) is not acceptable. In fact, words like “retarded” are extremely hurtful, whether you are using them as a direct slur at a child with special needs or using it as slang. It’s Okay to teach children the right words to talk about our differences: disability, special needs, even the names of specific disabilities, like Down syndrome and Autism. In addition to words like “sick” and” wrong,” try to replace the word “normal” with “typical”—as in, ”A typical child might walk at 12 months old, but Joey didn’t walk until he was almost 3 years old.” We know our kids are different, but comparing them to “normal” kids just makes us feel like you’re calling them “weird” or “bad.”

SmartKnitKIDS Sensitivity Socks

4. It’s OK to ask questions.

Kids are naturally curious, and that is wonderful! Don’t feel like you have to shush a child who asks questions about disabilities. If you don’t know the answer, that’s Okay too! Don’t put all of the pressure on yourself, but feel free to pass the questions on to the child’s parent. After all, it’s no secret that moms love to talk about their children. Please ask us. We would love to help bridge the gap between our kids and yours.

Everyone has something that makes them different! Some are just not as obvious as others! Celebrate our differences with kindness and acceptance!


National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

April is a National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

There are people living with limb loss around us every day, many more than we realize. They live full and active lives.

What is Limb Loss?

Limb Loss is the loss of all or part of an arm or leg due to trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other diseases and accidents.

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States, and more than 500 Americans will lose a limb each day. Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma and cancer. Sadly, nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Why recognize Limb Loss Awareness Month?

National Limb Loss Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the limb loss community, and the various causes – both accidental and medical – of limb loss.

But, it is also a great opportunity to empower people affected by limb loss to live full and active lives and to achieve their full potential.

Have a wonderful month and check back with us for more information.




Top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

Hey guys, its Tanya again! Being an amputee is part of my everyday life, but there are a few things I wish people knew about me and other amputees! So… here it is, my top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

  1. No two legs are the same! Our prosthetic sockets are carefully and meticulously molded to each of our stumps. Test sockets are made, things are shaped and cut down and built up and re-molded so no, we can’t switch for fun. 16831170_1373635402704030_4721812029784467144_n
  2. Not all amputees are the same! There are Above-Knee, Below-Knee, Bilateral, Double, Congenital, and many other types of amputations!
  3. We don’t all know each other! Just because your grandson is an amputee, doesn’t mean I know him. I mean, we don’t event live in the same state.
  4. Helping is okay! Yes, I need help sometimes, but just talk to me like a normal adult who spills chocolate milk on herself just like you.
  5. I am Lucky! Even though I am missing both legs and some fingers, I still consider myself incredibly lucky. I have a great career, I have wonderful friends, and I do this blog for fun.
  6. We really, really, REALLY appreciate our ability to walk. Most of us try extremely hard to avoid resorting to wheelchair use, unless we absolutely have to.
  7. We are not all heroes! Yes, some amputees are veterans and lost their limbs during their service and we are so thankful for them! However, not all of us are veterans! Some of us are congenital amputees, some are cancer survivors, some are victims of unfortunate accidents, and some are just paying for careless mistakes. You ask why? Well, thanking us for our service that we did not do makes us feel guilty and different.
  8. We can and do lead normal lives! No, really, like we still have normal jobs, pay bills, have hobbies and argue with families. J Most normal activities people take for granted, we can do too! Watch us and you will see what we can and can’t do. …because like I stated before, there are a few things we ALL can use help with, whether we are amputees or not.
  9. If you have a question, PLEASE just ask. Being stared at hurts. And that hurt starts to build up inside, when the gawking is all we get. It gets exhausting. But we’re understanding- and I cannot stress this enough- all you have to do is talk to us. We’re all human.
  10. I am not inspiration just because of prosthesis! I wear prosthetic legs, but that doesn’t mean I am inherently inspiring. I am inspiring because I am living my life to the fullest.14907232_1248073238593581_9222515081476148964_n

Introducing: ‘Rite on Point With Tanya

Just a little bit about me… My name is Tanya and I am a congenital double amputee, which means I was born that way. Five years ago, I began my running journey at the age of 21 and it has changed my life in a tremendous and exciting way. It opened my eyes and made me realize that I am strong and capable of so much more. The first time I tried on my running blades, I felt like I was flying.  And, that feeling of flying, I wanted to feel over and over again. If you ask me why I run today, it’s simple – I run because I can.


My goal for 2017 is to run my first marathon! Last year was a good year for me from an athletic stand point! I reached my personal record in my half marathon, 10K and a 5K! But my hard work lead to a minor injury that I am still paying for today! Injury is just a little setback telling us slow down and calm down! 🙂

I am excited for this 2017 year because I want to take that challenge of running a marathon and truly challenge my mind. Let’s be honest – running a marathon is not a joke, even for a fully-abled athlete!

We all have goals, dreams and we all have responsibilities! I have three challenges for you for 2017.  The first is that I challenge you all to have a goal that is possible to do but you have to work for it, like really work hard on it. It can be a simple one or one that is more of a challenge, but choose something you will be proud of in the end, such as a non-stop mile run or getting all A’s in school!

The next challenge is to accept help when you need it! Accepting help is a huge problem for many because it feels like you are worthless, which we all know is not true! Accepting help means you are ready for something different and you just need somebody else to help you with it.

But accepting help leads to giving back, which is my final challenge to you. Giving back is an excellent way to say thank you to all who have helped and supported you! I challenge you all to give/do one kind act each day! It can be as simple as paying for stranger’s coffee to giving your time and volunteering with kiddos.

There are so many ways we can challenge our body, mind and spirit! There are so many ways we can give and receive!

I can’t wait to run my first marathon. It will be pursuing my big goal of doing something so difficult for me, but also encouraging others who are in need of little push to get moving and get excited about life. This is true no matter how many limbs you have or don’t have!

Join me on this journey by following my story and let’s encourage each other as we work toward our 2017 goals.


Looking at Life 100 Years Ago

Emma Morano was born on November 29, 1899 in Italy and is currently the oldest living person on Earth.  At just two months short of 117 years old, she is one of the world’s roughly 450,000 centenarians.  A centenarian is someone who has lived to be 100 years old or older – something that Ms. Morano did back in 1999.

Living to be 100 years old is quite a feat, but one that is becoming more common with increases and health care and living conditions.  In fact, according to, centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the population.  Since National Centenarian Day is today, September 22, this got us thinking about how much our industry, as well as the world around us, has changed in 100 years.  The comparison is mind blowing!  Check it out below:

1916 for Industries Served by Knit-Rite and Therafirm

  • Knit-Rite and Therafirm were not yet in operation.
  • Nylon was not used for stockings until the 1930s. In 1916, stockings were made of cotton or silk.
  • Amputations resulting from WWI during this time brought the importance of technology and development of prostheses to the attention of the US Surgeon General of the Army. This led to the formation of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) the year following in 1917.
  • Medical compression was used to treat some conditions, such as varicose veins, but due to the lack of today’s chemical fibers, materials used included laced stockings, elastic bands and tight bandages with resin.
  • Use of gradient compression was still a half a century away.

1916 Cost of Living

(Costs are averages) 1916 2016
Postage Stamp $0.02 $0.49
Coffee (per pound) $0.30 $7.94
Sugar (per pound) $0.04 $1.74
Eggs (per dozen) $0.38 $1.33
Bread (per loaf) $0.04 $1.98
Car $360 $33,560
Gas (per gallon) $0.22 $2.21
Home $3,000 $379,800
Gold (per ounce) $20.67 $1,272.50
Movie Ticket $0.07 $8.17

The average income in 1916 was roughly $700 per year for men and $350 per year for women.

1916 US Politics and History

  • The 33rd US Presidential election was held on November 7, 1916. Incumbent President and Democrat Woodrow Wilson beat the Republican challenger and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes.
  • The Democrats held a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • Speaker of the House was Democrat Champ Clark. The House had 435 voting members.
  • The Senate, led by President pro temp. James Clarke, had 96 Senators.
  • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was Edward Douglass White.
  • The US population was 101,961,000.
  • The American flag had only 45 stars even though the US had 48 states.
  • The first woman to serve in the US Congress, Jeannette Rankin, a 36-year-old Republican from Montana, was elected.
  • The Reserve Officer Training Corp – ROTC – is established.
  • Louis Brandeis becomes the first Jewish justice of the Supreme Court.

1916 World Events

  • The world was embroiled in World War I (then known as the Great War) between Allied Powers, led by France, the British Empire and Russia, and the Central Powers, led by Germany and Austria-Hungary. The US would later join the Allied Powers in 1917.
  • Paris, France was first bombed by German zeppelins.
  • The Battle of Verdun, one of the largest and longest battles of WWI, was fought in France between February 21 and December 18, 1916.
  • US President Woodrow Wilson sends 12,000 troops across the US-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.

1916 Sports

  • The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created.
  • The World Series was won by the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth, then a 21-year-old pitcher, won game 2.  The Red Sox would go on to win the series again in 1918 before suffering an 86-year drought.
  • The Chicago Cubs played their first game in Wrigley Field (then called Weeghman Park). Wrigley is currently the second oldest active MLB ballpark, opening in 1914.  The Cubs have never won a World Series during their 100 years playing at Wrigley, and are now in their 108th year since a title and 71st year since an appearance in the World Series.
  • The Super Bowl was still 51 years away from existing. The NFL, which began as the American Professional Football Conference, was still 4 years away from its inaugural season.
  • The first Tournament of Roses football game (Rose Bowl) was played between Washington State University and Brown University. The Rose Bowl is the oldest American college football bowl game.
  • The Summer Olympics was scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany, but was cancelled due to World War I.

1916 Achievements, Inventions and Other Firsts

  • The first blood transfusion was performed by British Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, at 984 feet, was the world’s tallest building. The tallest building in 2016 is the Burj Khalifa in dubai, UAE at 2,723 feet.
  • Albert Einstein completed his formulation of a general theory of relativity.
  • Claude Monet painted his Water Lilies series of paintings.
  • The light switch was invented.
  • The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover featuring a Norman Rockwell painting.
  • Actor Charlie Chaplin signed with Mutual Studios earning $10,000 per week.
  • The tow truck was invented by Ernest Holmes, Sr.
  • The first supermarket, Piggly Wiggly, opened.
  • The hamburger bun was invented by a fry cook named Walter Anderson. He later founded White Castle.
  • The first Boeing aircraft, a Bluebell seaplane, made its first flight.
  • Lincoln Logs were invented by John L. Wright. His son Frank Lloyd Wright grew up to be a famous architect.
  • German automobile company, BMW was founded.
  • President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation creating the National Park Service.
  • The first 40-hour work week begins at the Endicott-Johnson factories in New York.

1916 Miscellaneous

  • Only 6% of Americans had graduated high school.
  • The US had only 230 reported murders.
  • Life expectancy was 49.6 years for men and 54.3 years for women.
  • Only 14% of homes had a bathtub.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • 90% of all doctors had no college education.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were available at local drugstores over-the-counter.
  • The leading causes of death were pneumonia, influenza, and tuberculosis.
  • Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the country.
  • The first fortune cookies were produced in Los Angeles, California.
  • “Somewhere a Voice is Calling” by John McCormack was the number one song title.
  • 8% of American homes had a telephone.

1916 Notable Births

  • Jackie Gleason, American comedian, actor and musician
  • Dinah Shore, American singer
  • Gregory Peck, American actor
  • Beverly Cleary, American author
  • Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defense
  • Roald Dahl, Welsh-born author
  • Walter Cronkite, American television journalist
  • Kirk Douglas, American film actor
  • Betty Grable, American actress

Things have changed dramatically in 100 years.  Imagine how different life will be by the next 100.


Amputee Athletes & the Olympics

2012 Olympic Blade Runner Gives Boost to Other Amputee Athletes with Olympic Dreams

The Games of the XXXI Olympiad, also known as the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, officially opened Friday, August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  During the last Summer Olympics held in London in 2012, one of the best told stories was that of Oscar Pistorius, an amputee runner from South Africa.

Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games.  He ran the 400 meter race and the 4 x 400 meter relay.  Although he did not win an Olympic medal, he competed with some of the world’s fastest able-bodied runners and made huge strides in the quest for amputee athletes to compete in the Olympics.

His feat garnered him much international attention throughout the Olympic Games, with many media outlets referring to him as the Blade Runner.  Sadly, upon his return to South Africa, Pistorius gained media attention again when he was arrested, tried and found guilty for shooting and killing South African model Reeva Steenkamp.  Despite the unfortunate turn of events, there is no doubt that Pistorius made a major impact on athletics and the Olympics.

Although, disabled athletes competing at the Olympic level is nothing new, Pistorius had to overcome hurdles to be able to compete with his prosthetics.  He first had to undergo trials to prove that his prosthetics did not give him an advantage over able-bodied runners.  Initial tests said that there was a decided advantage to running on his carbon fiber running prosthetics.  However, after an appeal, it was determined that not enough factors had been tested and found that there was no decided advantage.  Missing the Olympic team in 2008, Pistorius was named to the 2012 South African Olympic team where he made history as the first double amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games.

Paving the way for future Olympians, Pistorius now makes way for Germany’s Markus Rehm.  Rehm is a single amputee long jumper who uses a similar blade to compete and won the Gold Medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.  Rehm had been hoping to become the second athlete with a prosthesis to compete in an Olympics.  Unfortunately for Rehm, he has fallen short for 2016.  IAAF rules state that the prosthesis does not give an athlete an advantage.  And so far, the evidence is not in his favor.  Not giving up, Rehm plans to work with the IAAF on a rule change that would allow him to compete.

The Olympic motto is Faster, Higher, Stronger.  Amputee athletes with Olympics dreams certainly live up to this motto in every way.

Disabled Olympians who competed in Olympic Games  (from

George Eyser (1904)

American gymnast George Eyser won three gold medals for the vault, parallel bars and rope climbing in 1904, competing wearing a wooden leg. He also won two silvers and one bronze. He lost his leg when he was a kid in a train accident. He was the only person with an artificial leg to have competed at the Olympic Games until swimmer Natalie du Toit in Beijing 2008.

Carlo Orlandi (1928)

Carlo Orlandi was an Italian boxer who competed in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, and was also a deaf-mute. He won the gold medal in the lightweight class.

Donald Gollan (1928)

UK rower Donald Gollan won a silver medal as a member of the rowing eights in 1928. He was deaf and mute.

Oliver Halassy (1928, 1932, 1936)

The Hungarian Oliver Halassy won silver in water polo at the 1928 Games and gold in 1932 and 1936. He won despite missing his left leg that had been amputated below the knee following a childhood streetcar accident.

Károly Takács (1948, 1952, 1956)

Hungarian shooter Károly Takács was a world-class pistol shooter, though was prevented from taking part at the 1936 Olympics because of his low military rank. He was on target to compete in 1940, but during army training in 1938 his right hand (and shooting hand) was badly injured when a faulty grenade exploded. Undaunted, he started training with his left hand, and won the national championship the following year. He had to wait until 1948 for the Olympics to resume, where he won the gold medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol, then repeated that effort in 1952.

 Lis Hartel (1952, 1956)

Danish equestrian athlete Lis Hartel was paralysed below the knees as a result of polio and required assistance on and off her horse. She became the first woman in the equestrian sports to win an Olympic medal when she won silver medals at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics in dressage.

Harold V. Connolly (1956, 1960, 1964, 1968)

US athlete Connolly won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in hammer throwing which was remarkable as he had Erbs Palsy, which meant the his deformed left arm was 4.5 inches shorter than his right arm, and his left hand was two-thirds smaller than his right hand. He also finishing eighth in 1960, sixth in 1964 and did not qualifying for the final in 1968.

Ildikó Újlaky-Rejtő (1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976)

Deaf Hungarian female fencer Ildikó Újlaky-Rejtő won two individual medals (a gold and a bronze) and five team medals during an Olympic career spanning from 1960 until 1976.

Jeffrey Float (1984)

Jeffrey Float was a swimmer who represented the USA at the 1984 Olympics. He was 90% deaf in his right ear and 65% in his left. He won a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle and finished fourth in the 200m individual freestyle. He had also qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Swimming Team which was boycotted by the US.

Neroli Fairhall (1984)

New Zealand archer Neroli Fairhall was the first athlete to compete in both the Paralympics (1980) and Olympic Games (1984). She was paralysed from the waist down and competed in a wheelchair.

Sonia Vettenburg (1992)

Previously winning medals at the 1984 and 1988 Paralympic Games, Belgium Shooter Vettenburg finished 37th at the Barcelona Olympic Games in the women’s 10 meter air pistol.

Paola Fantato (1996)

Italian archer Paola Fantato also competed in both the Paralympics and Olympic Games. She was born with polio. She had a very successful paralympic career from 1988 to 2004, though made just the one appearance at the Olympic Games, in 1996.

Italian archer Paola Fantato was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and 0aralympics in the same year, when she took part in both Games at Atlanta in 1996. Fantato had been afflicted with polio when she was eight and was confined to a wheelchair. At Atlanta she placed 54th in the women’s individual competition in the Olympics but took a bronze medal in women’s individual and a gold in women’s team at the 0aralympics She took part in five consecutive 0aralympics, winning a total of eight medals, including five gold.

Terence Parkin (2000, 2004)

Deaf South African swimmer Terence Parkin won silver in the 200m breaststroke at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and also competed at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Marla Runyan (2000, 2004)

Visually impaired runner Marla Runyan from the USA (she is legally blind) competed at the 1992 and 1996 Paralympics, and then at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. In Sydney 2000 she finished eighth in the 1,500m.

Frank Bartolillo (2004)

Australian Frank Bartolillo is profoundly deaf, and competed in fencing at the Athens 2004 Olympics. He competed in the individual foil event. He claimed that being deaf was an advantage as it enabled him to better concentrate.

Natalie du Toit (2008)

In 2008, South African amputee Natalie du Toit competed in the open water 10km swim, in which she came 16th. Her left leg was amputated at the knee after she was hit by a car when she was 17. She swims without the aid of a prosthetic limb. She carried the flag at the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, making her the first athlete to carry a flag in both Olympics and Paralympics in a single year.

Natalia Partyka (2008, 2012)

Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka was one of two athetes to compete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics and Olympics in Beijing (the other was Natalie du Toit). Partyka was born without a right hand and forearm.

Im Dong-Hyun (2004, 2008, 2012)

South Korean archer Im Dong-Hyun has 20/200 vision in his left eye and 20/100 vision in his right eye, meaning he is legally blind in his left eye. He won Olympic gold in the team competition in 2004 and 2008, and bronze in 2012.

David Smith (2012)

David Smith is part of the USA volleyball team at the 2012 London Olympics. Smith has been deaf since birth, having 80-90% hearing loss, and has worn hearing aids since he was three years old.

Chris Colwill (2008, 2012)

Chris Colwill, who has a 65% hearing loss, is a diver from the USA. Colwill is not able to wear his hearing aid when he dives, so he can’t hear the whistle that signals to the divers when they can go. Therefore the referees nod to him in addition to the whistle so that he can recognize the signal. He says it can be an advantage not to be able to hear during competitions because then he isn’t distracted by noises.

Oscar Pistorius (2012)

South African Oscar Pistorius (aka the ‘Blade Runner’), became the first double amputee to take part in both the Olympics and Paralympics. He competed in the 400m and 4 x 400 m relay races at the 2012 Olympics, running on his carbon fiber prosthetic legs. He had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, after being born without fibulas and with deformities of his feet.

Melissa ‘Milly’ Tapper

In Rio 2016, 26-year-old table tennis player Melissa ‘Milly’ Tapper will become the first Australian athlete to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics. She was born with nerve damage in her right arm, and competed at the London Paralympics.


Memorial Day Facts

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer.  The three-day weekend is chalk full of barbecues, parades, super sales and pool and water park openings.  But, what is it, truly, that we are celebrating?  Many people don’t know that the day is set aside for remembering and memorializing American servicemen and women that have been killed in American wars.  But, there is so much more to the story.  Here are several facts about Memorial Day you may not know:

  1. Civil War origins – The late spring remembrance to American war dead began in the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, it was an informal commemoration of the roughly 620,000 soldiers killed during the Civil War.
  2. Freed American slaves organized earliest commemorations – On May 1, 1865, black US soldiers, including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, gathered in Charleston, South Carolina at a new burial for Union dead. They distributed flowers and sang hymns.
  3. Official holiday founded in May 1868 – General John A. Logan, who was commander of a Union veterans’ group called the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed that May 30 would become a nationwide day of commemoration.
  4. Did not become a federal holiday until 1971 – After General Logan decreed a national day in 1868, more than 27 states adopted some form of commemoration. By 1890, every state had adopted it, but the day still only recognized Civil War dead.  After our entry into World War I, the holiday was expanded to include those killed in all wars.  But it wasn’t until 1971, when the U.S. was 6 years deep into the Vietnam War, for Memorial Day became the federal holiday set aside on the last Monday of May that we know it as now.
  5. Many have lobbied for it to return to May 30 – Many Veterans groups that American do not use the day for its intended purpose, but instead associate it with the first long weekend of the summer. They argue that returning the commemoration back to May 30, regardless of the day of the week would return the significance to honoring war dead.
  6. Memorial Day traditions and practices – On Memorial Day, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until 12:00 noon, and then raised to the top. In 2000 Congress passed a resolution that suggested Americans should pause at 3:00 pm local time to offer a National Moment of Remembrance.
  7. Who is included in a Federal Holiday – A Federal holiday, like Memorial Day, technically only applies to Federal employees and those in the District of Columbia. However, many of the 11 federal holidays, Memorial Day included, are observed by all 50 states and many businesses.

This Memorial Day, as you’re having barbecues and parades, pause for a few moments to remember those American servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Happy Memorial Day from our team and Knit-Rite and Therafirm.

Limb Loss Awareness Month

April is Limb Loss Awareness Month.  There are roughly 1.7 million people in the United States living with limb loss.  No one ever expects to lose a limb, but still there are 507 people every day who lose limbs.  Approximately 1,558 military personnel have lost a limb as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This is usually what comes to mind when thinking of limb loss, but the loss of a limb may be due to vascular diseases, including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, traumas or cancer.

The statistics can be staggering to imagine, but due to significant advancements in the quality of prosthetic limbs, it may be difficult to even determine that someone you meet has even lost a limb.  Many amputees are able to have careers and participate in activities that were once thought difficult or impossible.

They can run.


They can dance.

They can fight fires.


All with the help of well-made and well-fitting prosthetics.  A good, comfortable fit is key to an amputee’s mobility, which is why our team at Knit-Rite makes the prosthetic socks that we do.  It is our mission to improve the quality of life for amputees and others through our products.  Every day our team works, not only to make these products, but to make improvements upon them.

Today and all days, we’d like to send a big high-five to all the 1.7 million Americans who are living with limb loss.

One of Knit-Rite’s Own Retires

One of the first things you think about when you hear “Knit-Rite” is family.  The togetherness and comradery felt within the walls is unique to the workplace.  That’s why when one of its leaders retires it is truly bittersweet.  You’re happy for their accomplishments, but sad to lose their daily contributions.

Lucky for Knit-Rite that we’ll still get to see Ron Hercules from time to time.  But alas, last month he officially retired and got to celebrate his long career with his Knit-Rite family at a big family lunch!


The party started with a celebratory line of employees cheering and welcoming Ron and his family, which was followed by a delicious barbecue lunch from Kansas City favorite Gates Barbecue.  After lunch Knit-Rite employees showered Ron with heartfelt speeches, stories and gifts.


So, as Ron moves on to a new adventure in his life, he’ll carry with him his Knit-Rite family.  And the Knit-Rite family will carry on with the knowledge and wisdom that Ron has contributed throughout the years.  That’s what families do.