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New Technology Improves Prosthetic Leg for Longtime Amputee

At age 77, longtime track and cross county coach Everett Miller is learning to walk again. “I focus on walking straight, instead of swinging myCarey_Mr.Miller_Prosthetics_0534092734321 leg out,” says Miller. “The key is to balance my muscles and how I distribute my weight.”
Miller is learning to balance and walk on a new prosthetic leg. “It’s starting over from day one. You have to learn to walk all over again every time you get a new leg,” explains Miller as he makes his way across the Gait Training Room of Premier Prosthetic Center.

It’s a learning process Miller knows well. He has learned to adapt to new prosthetic legs numerous times over the decades since his since his leg was amputated above the knee after a shooting accident in 1957. At the time, Miller was a track star, attending Bowling Green State University in Ohio on a sports scholarship.

After his leg was amputated, Miller was fitted with his first artificial leg. “It was made of wood in those days,” says Miller. The heavy prosthesis was strapped to his body and wool was used to pad the wooden socket against his upper leg. “I had to make a lot of adjustments, but got used to it,” remembers Miller.

Although losing his leg ended his track career, Miller didn’t let his disability slow him down. He went on to become a teacher and a successful high school track and cross country coach.

“I wasn’t sure at first if the team would accept me as coach,” remembers Miller. “But, the students saw that I was determined and moved all over the practice fields just like they did. They accepted me overnight.”

Miller became so adept at moving with a prosthesis that many people were unaware he was amputee. “For years I could do anything I wanted. I could roller skate, dance, and run across the field,” recalls Miller.

Over the years new technology and lighter materials have made prosthetic limbs more flexible and functional than ever. Now, retired to Mallard Baye in Grainger County, Miller is working with Prosthetist Carey Bunch at Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville to be fitted for his latest artificial leg.

“The challenge with Mr. Miller is that his limb has gotten smaller and the soft tissue of his upper leg is very pliable,” explains Bunch.

The new prosthesis, which is made of titanium and carbon fiber composite materials, will be held in place by suction directly on his skin via a special socket design that also contains part of the pelvis.

“We’ve also designed the new leg with a polycentric knee that will give him more natural swing and better control when walking,” says Bunch. “Our goal is comfort and mobility.”

Miller hopes his new prosthesis will increase his mobility and activity level. “I hope to be able to garden again,” says Miller. “Carey has done a lot of fine tuning, so I’m adjusting to the new leg and learning to move as normally as possible again.”

And, despite living nearly 60 years as an amputee, moving normally is something Miller has always strived for. “My attitude has always been that I can do anything,” says Miller. “Amputees want to be normal and treated the same as everyone else.”

For more information about the Premier Prosthetic Center, visit www.premierprosthetic.com or call (865) 474-7096.

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