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    Meet Nikki Hooks - Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics - Greenville, SC

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Nikki Hooks, CO/Board Eligible Prosthetist

    Nikki Hooks was born and raised in Anson County, North Carolina.  Nikki was first introduced to the field of orthotics and prosthetics at a young age through her grandmother, an artist who relied on the assistance of upper extremity orthotics to continue her career. 

    Nikki’s interest in orthotics and prosthetics deepened upon meeting a renowned paralympian while in college at North Carolina State University.  Prior to receiving her bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Pre-medical Studies/Zoology from NC State in 2006, Nikki volunteered at a local orthotic and prosthetic practice in Raleigh, NC, where she developed an even greater passion for the O&P field.  As she dreamed of working to help others through the realm of orthotics and prosthetics, Nikki declined acceptance into medical school, opting to attend the University of Connecticut’s Newington Program for Orthotics, which she completed in 2008. 

    While in Connecticut, Nikki completed an internship within the Orthotics division of the Children’s Hospital in Hartford, CT.  Upon completing her orthotics residency with Hanger Clinic in Beaufort, SC, Nikki returned Newington to complete her training in prosthetics.  She is now a board Certified Orthotist and Board Eligible Prosthetist.

    Nikki has received specialized training in orthotics, including upper extremity orthotics.  She is a specialist for the WalkAide neuroprosthesis used in the treatment and correction of drop foot.  Furthermore, she is an experienced provider of stance control orthotics, face masks, sports bracing and cranial remolding helmets (for infants with cranial deformities).  Dedicated to a lifetime of continuing education, Nikki focuses on providing her patients with the most up-to-date and technologically advanced orthotics available.  Additionally, Nikki completes yearly “training days” with local physical therapy training programs to instruct incoming therapy assistants on the use and application of orthotics in the rehab continuum.

    Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is paramount to Nikki’s sense of well-being.  In addition to exercising regularly, Nikki enjoys cooking healthy dishes.  She also visits local rehab facilities with her certified therapy dog, a one-eyed Pekingese, named Enzo. 

    Meet Eric Shoemaker - Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics - Mechanicsburg, PA

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Eric Shoemaker, MS, CPO is an American Board for Certification (ABC) Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist.  Eric first became interested in the orthotics and prosthetics profession in high school, when foot orthotics were prescribed for him after sustaining a sports injury.  During his fitting appointment, Eric asked to tour the facility to learn more about the field.  He found that, because orthotics and prosthetics allowed him to work with his hands while at the same time interacting with patients and other health care professional, this career was the right choice for him.

    Eric attended Century College in Minnesota, graduating as an orthotic technician in 1993.  He then worked for a few years as an orthotic fitter in Philadelphia before returning to school to pursue his baccalaureate degree in prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, graduating in 1999.  He then began a two year residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY where he was able to hone his skills on a diverse and complicated patient population, dealing in both acute and chronic care. 

    Upon completion of his residency, Eric stayed on at the university as a staff prosthetist/orthotist, earning his ABC certification in prosthetics 2001 and in orthotics in 2003.  In 2007, Eric was promoted to the position of Clinical Coordinator, supervising a staff of 10 clinicians. During this time he furthered his education, graduating in 2012 with his Masters of Science in Medical Management from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

    Eric specializes in pediatric orthotics, including scoliosis and plageocephaly, and is certified in the Providence and SWASH orthoses.  Prosthetically, he specializes in upper extremity devices, including myoelectrics, as well as in transtibial prosthetics.  Eric is certified to provide the i-Limb, dynamic arm, Helix Hip, Pathfinder foot, and multiple microprocessor knees.  Additionally, Eric is a member of the Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics, American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists as well as American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association. 

    When he is not working, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children.  He also enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, tennis, golf, and cross-fit.

    Meet Chris Baughman - Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics - Raleigh, NC

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Chris Baughman, CP, BOCO

    Chris Baughman, CPO, is an American Board for Certification (ABC) Certified Prosthetist and Board of Certification (BOC) Orthotist.  Chris’awareness of and interest in the prosthetics and orthotics field stemmed from having a brother with a congenital birth defect that resulted in a transfemoral amputation.  Because of his brother’s experience, Chris has grown up knowing how important a well-fitting and functioning prosthesis is to an active and healthy lifestyle. 

    Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Slippery Rock University in 1999.  Shortly after graduating, he began to put down roots in Raleigh, NC with a career in management/marketing with Office Depot.  While a job transfer resulted in Chris having to leave the Raleigh area, this experience allowed him to refocus his career goals and to revisit his interest in prosthetics and orthotics. 

    Upon deciding to pursue a career in this field, Chris earned his certificate degree in Prosthetics from California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA in 2004.  He then completed his residency and became the lead practitioner at Union O&P in Pittsburgh, PA.  During this experience, he was able to work directly the Veterans Administration Amputee Clinic and several other University of Pittsburgh Medical Center amputee rehabilitation clinics in the region’s major medical market.

    For the past three years, Chris focused on elevated negative pressure socket systems with Anatomical Designs Inc. as a senior lead practitioner covering southwestern PA and Morgantown, West Virginia.  He is certified in an extensive range of microprocessor feet (Ossur Proprio, Endolite Elan) and knee units (Freedom Plie, Otto-Bock C-Leg, Ossur Rheo, Endolite Orion).

    Chris takes great pride in designing high quality prosthetic and orthotic devices to meet the needs of each individual patient.  Chris’ primary focus is on improving each person’s quality of life by providing ongoing prosthetic or orthotic care throughout the rehabilitation phase and beyond.  He also believes in building personal partnerships with physicians, physical therapists and other health professionals in a constant effort to improve outcomes.

    Chris is currently a member of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), the AAOP’s Lower Limb Prosthetics Society and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).  He enjoys an active lifestyle with his wife and two boys.  His interests include golfing, biking, snow skiing, and other outdoor sports.  Chris is thrilled to return to North Carolina as the managing practitioner in Ability’s patient care center in Raleigh.

    Socks and Your Lower Limb Prosthesis

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Lower limb prosthetics often require the use of special socks. Dressing your limb can be an adjustment, but should not be too tricky or time consuming. Socks are generally used to adjust the fit of your prosthesis. Here are some guidelines to help you choose and wear socks that will fit well and keep you healthy and comfortable.

    When to Add a Sock

    If your prosthesis feels too short or if there is a gap which causes air to come out of the top socket, socks can help add volume for an easy adjustment. Adding socks can also help if the prosthesis is not secure enough and shifts in a way that affects your stride. You can experiment with different thicknesses of sock to determine which is most comfortable for you. Most socks are available in 1, 3, and 5 ply.

    When to Remove a Sock

    If any kind of uncomfortable constriction or pressure occurs, the sock is likely too thick or too tight. Socks that are too thick can also make your prosthesis feel too long. If you experience this type of discomfort or if you find the end of your limb becoming moist and cold or darkening in color, you should remove the sock.

    How to Put On Your Socks

    It is important to put on your socks so that there are no wrinkles, seams, or bulges that might put uncomfortable pressure on your limb. Your prosthesis should fit snugly, but not feel uncomfortably tight.

    How to Maintain Your Socks

    Socks are machine washable, but should not be machine dried, as they can shrink. Put on a clean sock each morning and consider carrying an extra sock with you during the day. Your limb can swell, shrink, or sweat during the day, and a fresh sock can protect your skin and make you much more comfortable.

    It is essential that you find a high-quality prosthetic that is comfortable and fits your lifestyle. To learn more about prosthetics and prosthetic care, contact Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics by calling us at (717) 337-2273.

    Ability Expands to Raleigh, NC!

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc. announced plans to open its eleventh Prosthetic & Orthotic patient care facility in Raleigh, North Carolina in November 2012.  ”We are thrilled with Raleigh and our proximity to WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital,” reports Jeffrey Brandt, Founder and President of Ability, ”Ability Raleigh gives us expanding eastward presence for our patients in the state of North Carolina.”

    Ability Raleigh will be operated by Chris Baughman, CP, BOCO, who recently joined the company from Anatomical Designs in Southwest Pennsylvania.  Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and his Prosthetics Certification from the California State University, Dominguez Hills.

    Ability has become a “model of efficiency” for the delivery and follow-up of custom Orthotic and Prosthetics devices.  Ability outsources 100% of its fabrication and utilizes electronic medical records.  Ability has grown to eleven full-time offices in just eight years with patient care centers in five states.  More facilities are scheduled to open in 2013.

    The office is located in the newly constructed WakeMed Sunnybrook Medical Building located at 23 Sunnybrook Road, Suite 316, Raleigh, NC 27610.  Ability Raleigh office hours are 8am to 4:30pm Monday thru Friday; please call 919-215-0315 or visit us at

    A grand opening celebration is being planned for spring 2013

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