Endeavor Games 2018

It’s been a week since the Endeavor Games 2018 took place in Edmund, Oklahoma. For those who don’t know, the Endeavor Games are competitions for athletes of all ages with physical disabilities. These games are great opportunities for athletes to display their talents in a proper and competitive setting against all individuals with similar disabilities.

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This is Knit-Rite’s second year as a sponsor for the Endeavor Games, and I maintained a booth to display our products. We introduced a few of our items to athletes who were competing, as well as their parents and friends.

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Introducing our products, such as the pink prosthetic Soft Socks and SmartKnitKIDS seamless sensitivity socks, to parents of young athletes was satisfying, because I witnessed them recognizing that we are able to meet their child’s needs. We also had a few parents and kids who recognized our products and thanked Knit-Rite for our high quality socks. It is always rewarding to work for a company that makes quality products and hearing it from others.

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In addition to being a representative for Knit-Rite, I also got a chance to be one of the athletes at the games. I participated in 400m sprint, table tennis and for the first time ever, a weight lifting event. My husband challenged me to try something new this year, so I tried weight lifting for fun. I might not have performed my best, but I can’t wait to use the experience and the spirit of the competition to train and compete again.

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The past two years, I‘ve been running long distance races (including my first marathon) with non-adaptive athletes. I am used to being a curiosity for other runners and as a result, I am often starred at, which is a natural human instinct. Since the Endeavor Games focuses on athletes with various physical disabilities, I was honored to compete with athletes just like me. It was awesome! I didn’t feel like I was judged or looked at all the time because we all had differences. There were no questions or staring. Instead, there was a competition and lots of love and support.

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One of my favorite things at the Endeavor Games, was seeing a younger generation proudly competing while having the times of their lives! It was uplifting seeing everyone’s support while cheering each other on. Whether it’s a veteran powerlifting over 200 pounds, a 2-year-old boy competing in his first wheelchair race, or even a young lady trying table tennis for the first time, each of these moments will be embedded in the memories I’ll always hold of the Endeavor Games 2018!

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I finished the week with some table tennis. This was a fun addition to my experience at the Endeavor Games because it was a little bit of nostalgia. I used to play this sport competitively back home in Belarus as a child. The experience showed me that I was able to pick up my childhood skills that I developed along the way and use them for fun and competitions in the games. The best part was making new friends and new memories.

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It was a wonderful event full of positivity, hugs, smiles, encouragement and no judgment! It was an honor to be there as Knit-Rite’s representative and introduce our amazing products to everyone. It was also a pleasure to be there as an athlete and compete against those who are on the same level as me. I can’t wait to go back next year and make new memories, meet new friends, compete and introduce even more people to Knit-Rite. …And who knows what else I might try! See you next year at the Endeavor Games 2019!

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Why I’m Thankful for My Disability!

When I hear the word disability, most of the time I think of it as a negative thing. I don’t like being called disabled, because I am not. However, in the eyes of the majority, I am disabled. Nonetheless, the older that I get, the more in touch I am with myself and the more that I have learned to embrace the positives. We all have obstacles in our lives that can be overwhelming at times, relatively speaking. But, if we force ourselves to look closely, we will see that those challenges are actually the tools that have sculpted us into the people that we have become.

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Photo Courtesy of acepnow.com

 

That doesn’t necessarily mean I rejoice over having a disability. It’s frustrating and difficult beyond words sometimes. But, if you are able to see the glimmer of light, those tough times are not only bearable, but much easier to overcome. That is why I came up with a list of why I am thankful for my disability!

  • I am so grateful for all the amazing people – especially other “mobile WOMEN” – that I have met due to my disability. Even though we come from different backgrounds, there is an undeniable bond that creates a deep connection.
  • My disability has taught me perseverance. My disability has taught me that there are always multiple ways to accomplish something. The perseverance to find my own best way of doing something with a positive attitude is a quality that I’m proud of. It is something that other people often comment about is lacking in people they meet.
  • My disability has taught me how to be responsible. And I had to develop that responsibly earlier than most. Don’t get me wrong. I have lots of fun in my life and live life to the fullest. But, I have unique aspects that I have to deal with daily. This includes everything from my medical care to daily maintenance of my prosthetic legs, which makes me more aware and cautious of how I take care of my body, etc.
  • Living with my disability has taught me patience. Not everything can be done quickly. Some tasks require resourcefulness, and so I grew into a “fairly patient” individual. Naturally, I am an impatient person, but when it comes to my prostheses, I have learned the value of practicing a little patience. 😉
  • I’ve learned to look beyond the initial impression of a person or a situation. Things are definitely not always what they seem!
  • My disability has taught me to be a great listener, because I understand the importance of support.
  • My disability has taught me to understand what prejudice feels like, and to be more compassionate to anyone who has faced their own discrimination. I may not be perfect with this, but I pay attention and try to be more empathetic.
  • My disability has taught me to be strong and that I am a survivor.

 

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Photo Courtesy of hrheadquaters.ie

 

I always have to remind myself that being disabled isn’t a bad thing, and I shouldn’t get upset when people call me disabled. Often we cannot change our circumstances, but we can strive to change how we deal with them. Thinking positively can be challenging but not impossible, especially if you work at it.

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Amputee-Friendly Whole Body Exercises – No Equipment Needed!

Since I am an AK on one side and a BK on the other side, I can’t do certain exercises – such as squats or lunges – without adapting some extra equipment. Of course, I can always modify and do these “more challenging” workouts either with a box or while holding on to something, but those adaptations aren’t always available. I put together a full body workout that doesn’t require any adaptive equipment. These full-body exercises move your entire body in different directions. They help you coordinate your movement patterns better and burn more calories in less time.

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You can perform such workouts without any equipment, allowing you to work out almost anywhere at any time.

A few quick things you should know before you get started:

  1. Each of these exercises will challenge your whole body, although some are designed to focus in particular on either the lower or upper body or the core.
  2. You should do each move perfectly every time. These short workouts are meant to be intense, but that doesn’t mean going as hard as you possibly can each time you work out. The idea is to work hard, but to always be able to do another rep or two. It’s all about the quality of your sessions, not the quantity.
  3. Don’t forget to cool down. If you do a small amount of stretching throughout the day, you won’t need as much of a post-workout cool down as you would if you didn’t stretch at all. Stretching is very important, regardless of when you do it, so don’t skip it.
  4. If you have health issues, like high blood pressure or injuries, you should talk to a doctor first about what moves you should avoid or modify.
  5. Stay hydrated!!
  6. Have fun!

And now: the workout:

March in Place/Run in Place – 60 sec

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Modified Jumping Jacks – 60 sec

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Modified Push-Ups with a Twist – 60 sec

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Modified Plank with Taps – 60 sec

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Swimmer – 60 sec

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Single Leg Lifts – 30 sec + 30 sec

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Side Single leg Lifts – 30 sec + 30 sec

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Supine Twist – 60 sec

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Finish with a 60 second March in Place/Run in place

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If needed, take a 10 second rest in between the exercises, but don’t wait too long. The point of this workout is to get a quick session and burn more calories!

At the very end of your workout, make sure you stretch, drink lots of liquid and enjoy a healthy post workout meal full of protein and carbs!

Finally, remember that this workout is probably not for everyone! I designed this routine because I know I can do it with my prostheses without adaptation. If it seems like it’s a tad too challenging, modify to your strengths! If it’s too easy, definitely challenge it by adding time to each exercise or add running in place in between each routine!

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If you are just starting to work out, you got this! Take one workout at a time and trust the process! Being an amputee and attempting to work out isn’t easy, but you’ll be amazed at what your body is capable of despite missing limbs!

I challenge you to join me on this workout!  Watch below.

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Knit-Rite Is More Than Just Prosthetic Socks!

As you already know, I always talk about prosthetics and amputation. Why? Well probably because this is a big part of my life, and I enjoy sharing it! And since Knit-Rite is the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of innovative prosthetic and orthotic textile products for the last 90+ years, I can relate to this topic.

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However, today I would like to introduce you – my two-legged friends – to Knit-Rite’s sister company called Therafirm! One of Knit-Rite’s missions is to improve the lives of those who use our products. That goes far beyond prosthetics and orthotics.

Therafirm is a division of Knit-Rite and a manufacturer of quality compression hosiery and socks. The true gradient compression offered in Therafirm hosiery and socks delivers a controlled amount of pressure greatest at the ankle and gradually decreases toward the top of the stocking to promote blood flow, assist in preventing swelling and provide relief for tired and achy legs. Gradient compression hosiery is ideal for anyone who sits or stands for long periods of time, frequently take long flights, pregnant women, or anyone dealing with vein issues or DVT.

Therafirm includes several brands to offer the therapeutic benefits of gradient compression to different markets. Those brands include Preggers, our maternity compression line; Core-Sport and TheraSport, for athletic compression; and GOGO, Ease and CoreSpun, for comfortable and fashionable, easy-to-wear everyday compression.

 

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Maternity compression

 

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Comfortable and fashionable compression

 

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Eeasy-to-wear everyday compression

 

Another couple Knit-Rite brands that we don’t mention on our blog very often is SmartKnit and SmartKnitKIDS. SmartKnit features a line of diabetic socks, as well as AFO and KAFO socks.  SmartKnitKIDS focuses on seamless socks and undergarments for children with sensitivity issues such as sensory processing disorder and autism.

 

 

 

 

The goal of all the brands is to make the best quality products with the intention of improving lives of those who use our products! Isn’t cool how each brand and every single one of our products helps someone with some sort of medical need.

For more information on KnitRite, Therafirm, or any of our brands, please see the links to each brand above.

You can also find many of our products, such as Therafirm, Preggers, Core-Sport, TheraSport, Ease, CoreSpun, SmartKnit diabetic, SmartKnit AFOs and SmartKnitKIDS, on Amazon.

Thanks,

Amputee Tips for the Summer Heat!

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Photo Courtesy of fbcaugusta.org

 

The official start to summer is only a few weeks away, and summer is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. After living in the US for almost 10 years, summer has become my favorite season. And rightly so, because I am an outdoors girl. Whether it’s running, swimming, hiking, or whatever, I prefer to be outside. However, summer also means sweat, a lot of it.

Many amputees, including myself, deal with perspiration on a daily basis, and the summer months can be especially problematic. A large buildup of sweat is not only uncomfortable, but it can cause skin breakdown. I am currently dealing with this right now, because spring here in Kansas City just never happened. It went straight from cold to very hot. My skin hasn’t had time to adjust to warm temperatures, and now my skin has some heat rashes.

Here are a few options to help you battle sweat as the heat ramps up during the summer months.

If you are like me and work in the office all day, you probably don’t think about taking your prostheses off during the day. However, if you feel like there’s sweat inside the socket, take off your prosthesis. Dry your skin and liner periodically throughout the day with a clean dry towel or whenever there seems to be a buildup of sweat.

Always make sure you clean your silicone with mild antibacterial soap and warm water after wearing it all day. The same goes for your residual limbs. Make sure there’s no dirt on your silicone or skin. Sweat in the socket combined with sensitive skin can lead to bacterial infections.

While it may seem counterintuitive, keep a supply of prosthetic socks handy. As you sweat, your residual limb can reduce in size. A loose socket combined with excessive sweat can be a troublesome combination. To prevent skin breakdown, always make sure your prosthesis is fitting snugly, even when it is hot.

Practice safe skin care throughout the summer months to prevent any discomfort or infections with the skin surrounding your prosthetic device.  If you feel you are developing an infection or have any skin care questions, contact your prosthetist or your amputee friend!

I hope your summer plans include lots of outdoor activities, soaking up the summer sun! I know mine well! Happy almost summer!

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Product Spotlight! – Knit-Rite Torso Interface Protective Body Socks

For someone who has scoliosis and wears a brace to correct it, a special undershirt or torso interface protective body sock is a must.  It will protect your skin from chaffing and keep the brace more sanitary.

But, you won’t want just any t-shirt under your brace.  For maximum comfort, it’s best to wear a tight-fitting and seamless shirt.  A tight-fitting shirt will prevent wrinkles or bunching of the shirt underneath the brace.  And a shirt that does not have seams will reduce the tendency of the brace to cause skin irritation.

With some scoliosis conditions, it is necessary to wear a brace that comes up very high underneath the armpit.  This can be a further point of irritation and the wearer will need a torso interface shirt that has axillary flaps – or an extra flap of material that folds over the brace and protects the delicate skin of your armpit.

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To address the needs of those that wear braces, Knit-Rite designed, developed and introduced its Torso Body Sock to the orthotic profession in 1980.  Our body sock can be worn with all types of spinal orthoses and body jackets.

Knit-Rite’s Torso Interface Protective Body Socks offer the maximum comfort due to its superior quality.  Slightly heavier than a t-shirt, our Torso Interface provides more cushioning, moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties to keep skin dry, protected and comfortable.  Each torso interface has seamless finishing and helps to prevent skin irritation.  The garments are made with super soft materials for added soft comfort against the skin.  An outstanding stretch allows the garment to fit tight against the skin and be virtually wrinkle-free, reducing another point of irritation.

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The torso garments are made in different materials to meet the varying needs of most patients.  Material options include CoolMax®, Silver X-Static® and Cotton/Lycra.  The CoolMax® option, which is white in color, is a premier moisture wicking fiber.  Silver X-Static®, which is grey in color, is especially helpful when skin rashes are noticeable.  Both of these fibers are antimicrobial to help eliminate odor in the garment.  For those that prefer a natural fiber, there is also a Cotton/Lycra option, which is a light beige in color.

Many people that wear a brace and torso interface want to be able to adequately hide it under their regular clothes.  For this reason, the torso interface is made in several different styles – a basic crew neck, sleeveless garment; a crew neck with sleeves; a crew neck with axilla flaps (for the brace that comes up high under the armpit); a basic V-neck, sleeveless; a V-neck with axilla flaps; a V-neck with only a left side axilla flap; a strapless option and a turtle neck.  The turtle neck is only in smaller sizes and intended for use with a Mehta Procedure.

Knit-Rite Torso Interface Body Socks can be purchased on Amazon or on www.knitritedirect.com!

* Not all size options are available in every material option.

Things That Were Actually Said To Amputees – Can You Believe It?

We all have moments where we stick our foot in our mouth (pun intended!). When you have only one foot (or in my case no feet), that moment can be even more awkward. I compiled a list of all the screwball things that have been said to me or my amputee friends over the years. And what’s a screwball question without a sarcastic screwball response.49cedaa640a8047702768b99457f5df3.jpg

Photo Courtesy of quoteswords.com

 

I must note here that the intentions of the questioners are typically not rude or heartless. But just because I do not believe most people have ill intentions in saying these things, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t draw the line in the sand for basic conversation etiquette. Take a moment to read my humor-inspired list below and feel free to add a few of your own in the comments!

Humor Disclosure Statement: Our rhetorical responses should be humorously interpreted by other amputees and may sound extra harsh to make a point. Some humor may not translate for my two-legged friends. Reader Beware!

“Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?”Actually that is not always true. Most people that have lost limbs, lost them in ways that very easily could have killed them. That being said, you have no idea how hard my life is or has been. Don’t brush my sacrifices off with a petty silver-lined comment. Those comments only show that you feel you have rationalized and justified my entire life in seven words.

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Photo Courtesy of quoteswords.com

 

“I guess I shouldn’t complain about my problems to YOU…look at YOU!”The truth is that we all have problems no matter how great or small. But really, stop comparing and assuming that I must be doing awful just because I am missing legs. Seriously, listen to your question – it’s really rude!

“It’s such a shame…you’re so pretty…” Can someone explain this one to me? When did having all your limbs become a requirement for a pretty face? Last time I looked at someone that was pretty, it wasn’t because of her pedicure.

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Photo Courtesy of canacopegdl.com

 

“Maybe someday you will find a young man that will love you in spite of this.”When I was single, this was said to me quite often. I don’t care what was “intended” by this statement, it is rude.  It always made me want to say “well looking at you (knowing you got married), I find hope.”

“My brother’s nephew’s sister has a niece that is cousins with a girl dating a guy that lost his pinky and still runs a marathon!” (Exaggerated family tree …but surely everyone knows SOME distant connection)   – I don’t care. Really. As bluntly as I can say this I will repeat myself: I don’t care. Each amputee is different. Each level of amputation is different, and we don’t all carry some membership card stamped that we joined a club. We are individuals. I also don’t care if you saw the latest technology on television. Truthfully, my insurance won’t cover any of that stuff for another 15 years anyway.

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Photo Courtesy of favim.com

 

“Wait, you are married like that?”Yup, girl with no legs and managed to snag herself a man. And not one that felt sorry for her either…imagine that. This comment makes me sad for people, because they must not understand what true love is about.

“I wonder if you can have kids like THAT?” Well, I don’t have any yet. But seriously people, I just got married and just purchased a house. One thing at a time! And besides, that is my private business. How do you know that this isn’t a sensitive topic that may cause me to burst into tears? How rude! I don’t ask you if you can have kids like THAT…

That about sums up the most frequent comments made to me and my amputee friends. I am sure that if you are reading this and you are an amputee, you have a few of your own. I would love to read them. Leave a comment below the article to share with all of us!

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Photo Courtesy of funnyton.com

 

To my two-legged friends that have stumbled and probably even found yourself in the above list: I love you and wouldn’t have had an article if it weren’t for your kind clumsiness! Thank you for being you and I am more than sure you have experienced plenty of inconsiderate statements directed at you. Share those stories with me as well!

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