When it comes to having the right mindset to be a practitioner of prosthetics and orthotics, the most common educational backgrounds are either in sports therapy or engineering. Calvin Hoyle, CP, BOCO spent his early career working as an occupational health engineer at a large chemical plant in Mississippi. After discovering the impact a simple foot orthosis can have on the health and productivity of a plant worker, he realized his true calling and headed back to school.
“I was the Senior Safety Engineer for a chemical plant. A lot of the employees had foot problems from standing up all day and supportive leather boots weren’t allowed for safety reasons,” says Calvin. “We tried everything. I eventually consulted with a podiatrist and convinced the manager to pay for custom shoe orthotics for the workers.”
It is his understanding that AzkoNobel’s North American plants do consider the use of custom foot orthotics to employees that are at higher risk of foot problems.
During this process, Calvin came in contact with an amputee. After seeing the impact his prosthetic leg had on his quality of life, he realized he could apply his engineering skills to make a bigger impact. After volunteering at local clinics to get a feel for the industry, he applied and was accepted at Northwestern University Medical School for Prosthetics and Orthotics.
“I’m able to apply my knowledge to create positive outcomes for patients, whether thats an improved range of motion or helping someone go from sitting to standing and walking,” Says Calvin.
Calvin has now been practicing as a prosthetic and orthotic provider for 20 years. After relocating from working at Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville, SC to Johnson City, he was working with two other practitioners when they were offered the opportunity to become a part of the team at Excel Prosthetics & Orthotics.
“Excel has been really good to us. Their size and resources gives us the opportunity to grow and try new solutions for patients,” he says. “We’re able to operate independently as a remote clinic so we have the freedom to make decisions on what we think is best for the patient.”
While he admits that the variety of patients and special circumstances can make the job challenging mentally and emotionally, knowing he can impact their lives is equally rewarding. While he treats everyone from children to geriatrics, his background at Shriner’s Hospital gives him a special edge when it comes to treating pediatric patients. When he can help a child walk for the first time, it’s a job well done.
“If I ever lose the thrill of seeing someone walk again for the first time, I guess I’ll have to retire,” he says. “But I doubt I ever will.”
Calvin also looks for opportunities to apply his knowledge and skills outside of the clinic. In 2002, he worked with Project Hope to provide prosthetic devices to three Russian children with various amputation needs. In his home town in Tennessee, he does as much as he can to support the needs of amputees in the rural community who have little access to health care. He believes that he was given his talents for a reason and it’s his job to use them to help people as much as he can.
We’re thankful to have him on the Excel Prosthetics & Orthotics team to make an impact in the lives of his patients and the Eastern Tennessee community!