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Student Blog

Francesca Cicchetti – IIOP Student Blog – November 13, 2020

Good morning everyone!


Happy November!! To start this blog off, let’s start with a little joke. “What does Thanksgiving have in common with Halloween?”


Hahahaha. I thought that was a perfect little way to start. Anyway, let’s see…I hope everyone is doing well and that you all have had a good start to the month. We have been busy here over at IIOP.

Our lovely patient models, David, Dave, and Taylor came in and helped us out with our ischial containment sockets! We casted them, fabricated check sockets (fit and adjusted those), and finally got to laminate their definitive sockets! It was a pretty busy week and we all were exhausted, but it was well worth it! For our definitive socket fittings, our good pals from Blatchford, David, Mike, and Steve, came in and showed us a few of their amazing knees and feet! On Thursday, we were able to fit our patient models with the Linx system and Orion 3 knee with the Echelon hydraulic ankle! It was amazing because we were able to gain some valuable insight on how to properly bench align and calibrate their products! On Friday, our Blatchford pals and patient models came back and we got to have some more fun. We fit our definitive sockets with Blatchford’s KXO6 (polycentric) knee and their Mercury hydraulic (single axis) knee. My class and I really appreciated Blatchford for taking the time to come teach and help us out for a couple of days!! We learned so much and had a great time.

Finishing up my updates, we had our patient models return to help us this past week with our CAD-CAM ischial containment sockets. We used our VX Element scanner to capture the shape of the patient’s residual limb. Their scans were then synced into the Omega WillowWood software where we were able to modify their scans. Next, we uploaded the modified scans to our Provel C7 carver and created a positive foam model which we used to pull our plastic to create their check socket. We used this method in place of casting our patients with plaster…just another tool we get to put in our growing toolbox!! These scans can be used in the future to create other devices such as cranial helmets, scoliosis braces, and various sockets!! We will be fitting our patients on Monday before concluding our transfemoral class.

That is all for now! Have a wonderful rest of your week and we will chat soon.


Signing off,

Fran Cicchetti

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Bryce Dahl – IIOP student, International Clinical Rotation (Quito, Ecuador) 11/12/2020

Tierra de Papayas – Nov 12th, 2020

It’s been one week since I have returned to Quito and already feels like I’m living in a movie again. Upon landing in Quito, a quick 3-hour nap and I was back in the lab modifying molds, awaiting patients to arrive. Pretty cool to jump right back in where I left off in this crazy but beautiful place.

Nothing says ‘welcome back’ like getting a week’s worth of fruit and veggies from the neighborhood food truck….for $6. I was paying $20 for eight to ten sweet potatoes last week at Kroger. I wasn’t expecting to be greeted back by so many familiar faces of the community. I’ve really enjoyed my stops at the little tiendas (stores) where the same old ladies are always so kind and patient with my Spanish and laugh when I absolutely butcher my order ….but hey got that Duolingo streak up to 90 days so don’t mess with me.

Getting to follow up with some of the patients I met in September has been a reward. Hearing how happy they are to be at work with their new prostheses and moving around the city is why we do what we do. The 8 weeks I’m here are going to be geared more towards learning more plaster modification, suction fitting, and elevated patient interaction as my Spanish progresses. I’m working really hard to absorb not just a cultural experience, but a professional lesson of practice that I’m excited to share back in Los Estados Unidos. Each day is a lesson, each day is a reward.




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Bryce Dahl – IIOP student, International Clinical Rotation (Quito, Ecuador) 11/04/2020

Quito by 2 am – Nov 4th, 2020


Back on the red-eye flight to Quito for my third and final rotation of the semester. Leaving from my rotation in Nashville, I was able to collect several top-shelf prosthetic knees that I’m stoked to get down to Ecuador and delivered to their very deserving ROMP recipients.

This trip should allow Dave and me to really set the groundwork for the future of ROMP-Ecuador’s practice. I’m excited to see where our opportunities take us and I’ll continue to document all adventures along the way.

2020 has been quite the year and currently with the future president of the United States in limbo (election still going on), COVID-19 present, and the rest of 2020’s plague of anxiety, I will do my best to shed some light on the positive very much alive!

Follow me on this journey of love, humility, and strength one leg/arm at a time.


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Francesca Cicchetti – IIOP Student Blog – October 27, 2020

Happy Fall Y’all!!! I cannot believe we are approaching the end of October…pretty soon my cohort will be done and off into the residency world *sniffle sniffle.* But anyway, I am getting ahead of myself and do not want to think about that yet. These past few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. We finished up our upper extremity orthotic course about two weeks ago. We wrapped up with fitting prefabricated wrist hand finger orthoses, fracture orthoses, shoulder elbow wrist hand orthoses, and lastly, our final exam!! Then we dove right into our contemporary practice class and had some wonderful patient models come in and help us with our total surface bearing casting techniques (it was also a wonderful way to spend my birthday!!)

Last week (*drumroll please*) we finally started our prosthetic management of the lower limb 2 class…AKA OUR TRANSFEMORAL CLASS!!! I know I personally have been looking forward to this class since I started the program and so have my classmates. We are SO excited it’s finally here 🙂 It is definitely a change from our transtibial unit, but a wonderful one. Last week, our three amazing patient models came in for castings of ischial containment sockets. We spent last week modifying our casts, fabricating check sockets for them, and then putting our good bench alignment skills to the test. This week we are fitting and laminating their definitive sockets for delivery! It has been so much fun so far and I cannot wait to see how they all turn out. Tune in next week to see the final products!! Happy Tuesday everyone, make it a great week!

Signing off for now,



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Bryce Dahl – IIOP student, International Clinical Rotation (Quito, Ecuador) 10/09/2020

From new heights of Volcán Corazón (15,682ft) to driving the mobile clinic across to the country of Ecuador, a lot has happened this final week.

It’s hard to believe a country beautiful as Ecuador is only the size of the state of Colorado and can still possess modest towns like Quevedo. There’s definitely not much to see in Quevedo, but the patients are our obligation. From a local culinary experience, inspirational culture, and lessons of humility, the first launch of ROMP’s mobile clinic was an experience Dave and I will never forget.

One by one patients were brought off the sidewalk, given measurements, and casted. Each patient was fit with a liner and then cast with a roll of fiberglass. After choosing the color of his & her new prosthesis, it was time to say goodbye. As quickly as we arrived, we were back on the road to Quito.

My final 24hours in Quito have been exhausting but all casts have been poured, modified, and thermoformed for the return trip to Quevedo. Unfortunately, I’m now on my way back to the United States for my second rotation and I won’t be joining Dave on the delivery excursion back to Quevedo. I’m sure Dave will miss me but I know he’ll hang in there until I return next month.

Yup, I made that decision this week after realizing 5 weeks just isn’t going to cut it and I know Range of Motion Project is going to need all the help once the mobile clinic really begins to develop. I’m looking forward to progressing as a student and being able to contribute more to patient evaluation as my language barrier decreases. Staying disciplined with the Spanish will be difficult but then again whoever said saving the world from a mobility crisis would be easy?

Thanks for reading.




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Francesca Cicchetti – IIOP Student Blog – October 5, 2020


What a more fitting song?! So, what does that have to do with us? * beside the fact I sang it for the whole day on Wednesday* We just finished up with our Wrist Hand Orthoses (WHO for short) this week! We had a lot of fun casting each other and fabricating the devices. This is the first upper extremity class we have had in school and we are so excited to dive in and learn all about it! It’s been a tougher transition, personally, just because we have really focused on lower limb orthotics and prosthetics in our past classes- but like anything, with some more practice and lectures I’m sure it will become easier. Friday, we fabricated a low-temperature splint mold to create a lower-profile WHO orthoses, and today we started our week by fitting some prefabricated JAECO wrist-driven orthoses on one another!! I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Stay tuned for more fun these upcoming days 🙂


P.S. How cute is our new little office helper Harley?!

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Alex Miller – IIOP Student Clinical Rotation – 09/30/2020

3D Printing – September 30, 2020

This week has been just as busy as always, but in the free time I can find, I have been working with 3D printing programs like Meshmixer and Cura. One of my interests in 3D printing is to design and create foot orthotics by 3D printing. If I can perfect this process, it will cut down on fabrication time because the modification can become almost automated. I have so far learned how to print the orthotics, but there is much more to learn in this field. The material is very important because it has to be similar to the material we are using now, but also the modifications have to be similar to the modifications we are doing with plaster. This will take practice, but I have a good start. My goal is to be able to 3D print foot orthotics for patients by the time I am finished with my clinical rotation this fall.

-Alex Miller

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Francesca Cicchetti – IIOP Student Blog – September 25, 2020

Hello everyone!

Fran back here with the latest and greatest!! Let’s see… it’s been a whole week since we last talked?! Time. Is. Flying.

Anyways, let’s catch up, shall we?!

Last Thursday we wrapped up our big project with…*drum roll please* our KAFO fittings!!! Wahoo!! It went very well, and everyone did an amazing job. Our KAFO project was probably the most time consuming and most involved project we’ve had in school, so I am very proud of my classmates for making it through.

Then on Friday, we ended the week with our KAFO Schemas (a nice fancy word for tracing) with Mr. Mahairas and we had a grand ole time! It was nice to parallel the two techniques used for fabricating KAFO’s- and we definitely learned a lot doing both. Then, finally, at the weekend!! I took advantage of the nice weather, laid out by the pool, walked around Davis Island with my best friend, and watched the sunset!! Weekends are my favorite!

So far, this week has been quite the week and in the best way possible! We are already on our fifth week of the semester; can you believe it? On Monday, Mr. Carl Allen came in to speak to us along with Dr. Gerald Stark (over zoom) about the C-Brace by Otto Bock! We all had a chance to try it on and play around with it. It was such an amazing experience and we had a blast testing it out (as you can see!). Yesterday we finished up our Orthotic Management of the Lower Limb class. And what better way to finish a class than with a final exam!! Am I right? Everyone did great! We also had a little friendly sewing competition after our exam. Our professor, Ms. Crawford, challenged us to sew a small strap with her cat’s, Zazu, name on it. The winning strap would be featured in a small photoshoot with Zazu. Not to toot my own horn *toot toot* but I WON!! So, here is my strap featured with the lovely model Zazu (my heart!!). That is all for now! Tune in next week to see what fun we’re up to! Ciao for now…



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Bryce Dahl – IIOP student, International Clinical Rotation (Quito, Ecuador) 9/24/2020

Mastering More Than Plaster Pouring – September 24th, 2020

If you would have told me I would be crossing off part of my bucket list while on my clinical rotation here in Ecuador, I probably would have just cut my losses, signed an indentured servant contract with Dave, and moved here for good. Sadly, I’m quickly approaching my last week here in Quito but I’m one of the lucky ones as I’ve gotten to take full advantage of this experience and learn from one of the best.

From assembling and aligning legs for delivery, to casting & modifying sockets, I’m doing things here in Quito I didn’t think I would be able to do. Just recently I got to see things I didn’t think I’d get to see, as I traveled a few hours south to Banos, Ecuador this past weekend. I got to mountain bike the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen, hike some incredible views, paraglide off a FREAKING MOUNTAIN, and then be-friend my paragliding guide (Jorge) enough for him to take me back to his home in the jungle and indulge in the most delicious meal prepared by his family. Oh and not to mention how Jorge came to my rescue after I missed the last bus back to Quito and he insisted I stay the night with his family in their cozy jungle house.

Building new relationships with people like Jorge is humbling and satisfying to endure such humanity in such rural parts of the world. As a gringo from the united states these are experiences I don’t get to have without a little opportunity followed by taking a risk. As a future clinician constantly striving to learn more, these lessons of humanity are so important. That beautiful shiny little rule we all learned in kindergarten: Treat others as you want to be treated. But also remember you’re in a foreign country and super gringo so watch your pockets and pay attention haha.

Back here in the clinic this week, little Takana has been fit for her new leg along with many others! Dave and I have hit our ROMP patient goal for the month and have continued to pull socket after socket.

Next week Dave and I will load up the chevy and head on an overnight road trip towards the western Ecuadorian coast in hopes of casting 9 patients in their homes! This is gonna be a cool last week.


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Alex Miller – IIOP Student Clinical Rotation

Busy, Busy, Busy – September 22, 2020

Work has been very busy lately, which is great! A busy day makes me stay focused in the lab or with my patients, and the day goes by so quickly. We have been piled up with foot orthotics, ankle-foot orthotics, and replacement sockets. I am able to work with the patients and am doing a great deal of fabricating. One of the interesting sockets we finished last week was an adjustable boa, transfemoral socket. Designed as a flexible socket, rigid frame of carbon fiber. The socket is light and strong and allows the patient to tighten down three windows to decrease the size circumferentially simply by twisting the boa dial.

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