In our profession, empathy plays a major role in a successful experience for all of our patients. Our staff and practitioners are exceptional at making patients feel understood and reassured. Hank Hinshaw, CPO has a unique take on how he empathizes with his patients because he, himself, is an amputee. 

Experience at an Early Age

Excel Practitioner Hank Hinshaw had a congenital condition that caused him to be born without a fibula in his right lower extremity. At the age of two, his parents made the decision to amputate to prevent Hank from being limited to the mobility a brace for his entire life. As a teenager, he was fitted with his adult prosthesis by our very own Founder & CEO, Doug Walters. This was the beginning of a long personal and professional relationship.

It wasn’t until college that Hank decided to pursue a career in prosthetics and orthotics. During his final senior project in Virginia Tech’s undergraduate Mechanical Engineering that he discovered his keen interest in prosthetics and orthotics from a design and functionality perspective. After designing a new prosthetic foot that responded dynamically to electrical currents inside the socket of the prosthesis, he knew that he was meant to apply his personal experience and technical mindset to the prosthetic and orthotics industry. He completed his certification and residency at Children’s Hospital of Boston at New England’s Medical Center.

True Empathy for Patients

Hank has been providing empathetic care to patients at Excel Prosthetics for over 26 years. Once he realized how much his own experiences with amputation and prosthetics put them at ease, he became more comfortable with sharing his story with patients. This has allowed him to provide perspective to patients that can’t be found anywhere else.

“A lot of amputees who find out that I have a prosthetic seem to be a little more relaxed,” says Hinshaw. “Seeing that I have had a healthy active life as an amputee gives them hope that they’ll be able to return to their own level of activity too.”

It’s the moments that he can help someone take a few more steps than they could the day before that are the most rewarding for Hank.

Growing with the Company

When Hank joined the team at Excel Prosthetics & Orthotics, there were only a few central clinics set up to serve patients in our service area. Working alongside Doug, they expanded Excel Prosthetics to the efficient system it is today with almost 20 locations that treat patients. Now, he travels between Lewisburg, Danville, Wytheville, Galax, and Roanoke to treat patients in need.

Outside of the office, Hank gets every bit of use out of his prosthetic leg by playing tennis. Playing for a competitive USTA team, he plays locally and travels frequently for tournaments.

From day one, Hank has never let his congenital condition prevent him from progress. He’s here to make sure his patients can conquer their limitations, too.