Joanne Pressbury of Bel Air is a three-year amputee.
After Pressbury, 62, lost her leg to diabetes, her physical therapist referred her to Real Life Prosthetics for a replacement, she said. Pressbury lost all but one of her toes on her right foot, and lost her left leg up to her knee. She not only found a place that got her to walk like she never lost a leg, but a company that cared about what she wants, she said.
“They do a wonderful job,” Presbury said. “Jonas was there for me. He worked with me to get me where I am today – walking and not stuck in a wheelchair.”
For more than two decades, Abingdon-based Real Life Prosthetics has prided itself on providing custom-fit prosthetics for its patients while creating a family atmosphere that supports its patients through the adaptive/recovery process.
Jonas Seeburg, owner of Real Life Prosthetics, is a Harford County native who said he saw a need for those requiring prosthetic and orthotic care in the area. At the time, Harford County’s population was growing, medical professionals were moving to the area, and hospitals and healthcare centers were expanding, Seeburg said.
“My hope was to establish the first O&P company in this area so people wouldn’t have to travel long distances for prosthetic and orthotic care,” Seeburg said. “A place where those facing disability can be surrounded by a family of health care professionals who are genuinely concerned about their well-being physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Mountain biker Matt McClusky from Cochranville, Pennsylvania, lost his left leg 35 years ago due to cancer. Since coming to Real Life Prosthetics 10 years ago, he’s seen an improvement in the way he is able to bike and perform daily tasks. McClusky, 49, said the company listens to the needs of its patients and tries to make the best-fitting prosthetic based on the patient’s activity level.
“Jonas [the owner of Real Life Prosthetics] has done a great job listening to what I want,” McClusky said. “Since I have been an amputee for so long and I am very active, I know what I want and don’t want in my prosthetics to work.”
McClusky hasn’t had to return to Real Life Prosthetics because of how well-fitting and durable his prosthetics are. Real Life Prosthetics created prosthetic legs for walking as well as mountain biking. After the initial appointments for fitting, there’s no need to return because of the quality of the prosthetic, McClusky said.
“I haven’t seen Jonas in close to three years because he does such a great job to make sure that everything fits,” McClusky said. “Obviously, it takes several appointments to get the fit right, but once it is dialed in, I kind of don’t have to come back.”
Real Life Prosthetics uses a complex process that combines art and science for its prosthetics, Seeburg said. The company offers custom-made prosthetics that are designed with exacting specifications to compliment the uniqueness of each patient. The company gets its clients through word-of-mouth, doctor referrals and insurance companies.
The business provides all stages of prosthetic development, from form-fitting sockets that are designed to be an extension of an amputee’s body, to the most appropriate components to maximize the amputee’s potential for living their life to the fullest, while incorporating the appropriate visual presentation for each patient.
The company has a team of five professionals onsite who are not only technically knowledgeable, but able to creatively adapt their designs to each patient, Seeburg said.
“Our company consists of clinical, technical and administrative specialists who design, build and work behind the scenes with insurance companies to provide artificial limbs and custom orthopedic bracing,” Seeburg said. “Most of our devices are manufactured in-house to optimize quality control and ensure safe mobility.”
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All the professionals have completed training requirements and passed the required examinations of the American Board of Certification, which is recognized in the United States as the highest standard of education and professionalism for practitioners. To achieve the best socket design, ABC-certified prosthetists have available several methods including replicating the shape of the residual limb, and sculpting the cast molding and building up.
Although these professionals are certified, they are expected to keep up with the latest advancements in their field and maintain their knowledge of human anatomy, normal and pathological human locomotion and biomechanics.
Along with providing prosthetics to its patients, Real Life Prosthetics has partnered with Align Rehabilitation in Abingdon to help patients with the recovery process.
“Being able to train appropriately with the prosthesis is essential for long-term outcomes,” said Michelle Jammin, physical therapist and owner of Align Rehabilitation. “Being able to properly train and use the prosthesis efficiently helps to reduce any type of complication down the road and reduces any type of fall risk. It really helps patients get back to their life quicker.”
Since 2001, Real Life Prosthetics has helped several thousand people regain mobility and has expanded regionally, with offices in Towson, Chestertown, and in Glasgow and Wilmington, Delaware.
Real Life Prosthetics continues to grow as the business looks to create more branches in nearby states and counties, Seeburg said.