Chef Gwen Le Pape Makes Strides In Right Direction

Gwen Le Pape trying on new socket with Dave Longo at Physio Logic

A couple weeks ago, we introduced you to our first PL Personality: Gwen Le Pape.

We gave you some background on Gwen’s story, how he lost part of his left leg in a motorcycle accident, and told you about his goal to run the 2017 NYC Marathon. Today, we will check in with Gwen’s prosthetist, Dave Longo, and physical therapist, Dr. Klaus Dobra, DPT, to see how he is progressing.

Dave worked with Gwen making small adjustments to a new socket that was custom made for Gwen. The socket is the portion of the prosthesis that holds the residual limb. It must be carefully adjusted to fit the patient in order to prevent skin irritation and gait deviations that could lead to wasted energy and pain.

When training for a marathon, the socket requires multiple modifications due to changes in muscle mass, weight, and volume of the limb. Dave will work closely with Gwen to make these adjustments as he progresses through his training.

Gwen Le Pape working out with Klaus Dobra, DPT at Physio Logic

With his new socket in place, Dr. Klaus assessed Gwen’s function. He looked at Gwen’s gait, his ability to put weight into his left leg, and his balance. Functionally, Gwen was capable of standing on two feet, but unable to balance on one leg. Standing on two feet is important for his job as a chef, but running will require Gwen to repeatedly transfer his weight from one leg to the other.

Dr. Klaus focused on increasing Gwen’s awareness of his core, glutes, and legs. He helped Gwen develop a sense of how to use his body more efficiently when performing daily tasks such as getting up from a chair and going up or down stairs.

As Dr. Klaus notes, “We cannot build muscle in two sessions, but we can increase the connection between mind and body while also eliminating barriers to movement that are more self-imposed than innate.” Dr. Klaus goes on to say, “Gwen went from not using his leg when he could get away with it to understanding the importance and functional implications of using it every chance he gets.”

Whatever Dave and Dr. Klaus are doing, it’s working. Gwen came to physical therapy with no experience running on a prosthesis. After only a few sessions, Gwen took his first running strides on the Physio Logic treadmill.

Gwen Le Pape walking on treadmill testing his new socket at Physio Logic

After catching his breath, Gwen smiled and said, “I felt like I could fly after that.”

There’s a long way to go between those first few strides on the treadmill and running a marathon, but we are confident that Gwen is on his way. It looks like our challenge as practitioners is not going to be pushing Gwen forward, but holding him back.

Keep tuning into the Physio Logic blog for updates on Gwen’s progress, and check our Instagram and Facebook page for more photos and videos by looking for the #PLPersonalities hashtag.



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