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New Yorkers Test Stilts Fitted with Prosthetic Feet

ALBERTSON, N.Y., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 500 New Yorkers got a rare opportunity to walk in the shoes of an amputee by testing stilts fitted with prosthetic feet.  The exercise was the brainchild of Dan Bastian, co-founder of Progressive O&P, which has outfitted thousands of patients with technologically advanced prosthetic feet and hands to restore physical function and facilitate independence.

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"We wanted to give able-bodied people a chance to experience what it's like to walk with prosthetics and to see how technology advances are enabling amputees to live active, independent lives with complete mobility and natural movement," he said.  Bastian is an above-the-knee amputee who gave up a successful career as a systems programmer for IBM to pursue prosthetics as his new calling. "I became fascinated by how the technology was continually progressing to remove barriers to free movement and enable amputees to take on evermore strenuous physical challenges," he said.  Bastian is an avid snow, water and jet skier and an amateur sports coach.

The idea for the stilts came to him during a home renovation, when he observed spacklers using them to repair a ceiling.  Photo - seven pairs of the stilts, he replaced the bottoms with different kinds of prosthetic feet, allowing testers to compare and contrast the mobility and flexibility of each. The devices ranged from traditional SACHs (solid ankle cushion heel) feet constructed of wood to energy-storing feet fabricated from carbon.

The outfitted stilts became a feature attraction at Adventures NYC in Central Park on June 23, an annual outdoor expo that draws over 30,000 New Yorkers.  Progressive was the exclusive disability sponsor for this year's event.  About a dozen of Bastian's amputee patients were on hand along with several of Progressive's prosthetists and technicians to help people into the stilts and answer questions.

"A number of the people who visited with us at the expo were physical therapists, and the stilts gave them a whole new perspective on what their patients experience. We also had several spouses of amputees, and they left with a new appreciation for what life might be like for their other halves. Lots of able-bodied people were drawn to try out the stilts as well, and we really enjoyed their amazement at the experience," Bastian said.

"When outfitted properly with the right technology, amputees are capable of fully active lives including competitive sports and extreme adventuring," Bastian said.  "Most people have no idea what amputees can do.  There is really no limit to what is possible with the appropriate prosthetic."

About Progressive O&P

Progressive O&P is Long Island's premier Orthotics and Prosthetics facility.  Founded in 1999, Progressive O&P provides professional, compassionate, top-quality prosthetic and orthotic services at its modern facility in Albertson, NY. Progressive O&P is dedicated to restoring function and achieving patient independence.  For more information, call (516) 338-8585 or visit

SOURCE Progressive O&P
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