- 12 July 2013
- by Lauren Pinkston
Katherine Bomkamp created the Pain Free Socket at the age of 16 after meeting young amputees who had just returned from fighting in the Middle East. Inspired by the service of her father and other members of the armed forces, she was determined to give back to those who give their lives to protect us. At the age of 21, Katherine is still working to develop and improve the Pain Free Socket to relieve amputees from phantom pain that persists following an amputation.
“Phantom pain is pain in a non-existent limb, for example someone might feel a sharp stabbing pain in a foot that is no longer there... My product incorporates thermal biofeedback, or concentrated and controlled heat, into the prosthetic socket. This heat stimulates the severed nerve endings in the residual limb and forces the brain to focus on the heat rather than to continue to send signals down to an absent limb,” Katherine explains.
Katherine is passionate about service, especially to those in the armed forces. She believes that the military community makes sacrifices for us everyday as they fight for our safety. Katherine encourages youth to get involved in volunteering with the armed forces and veterans. “I think we all take for granted our way of life and our freedoms, but meeting a wounded veteran will absolutely change your entire perspective. There are so many different organizations out there that serve our wounded veterans and their families,” Katherine says.
Volunteering can be very fun and proactive, especially if you recognize a problem in your community and are passionate about finding an answer. Katherine saw the phantom pain amputees experienced and became passionate about finding a resolution. “I invented the Pain Free Socket after identifying a problem in my community, and I would suggest that anyone interested in invention to look at problems around them and think creatively to find a solution to that problem,” Katherine says.
Katherine hopes to see the Pain Free Socket go through a small-scale clinical trial process in the next year. Katherine would like for youth to get involved in her invention by spreading awareness of the issues that veterans face.To find out more about the Pain Free Socket visit Katherine’s website. To get involved with serving veterans, check out Katherine’s favorite non-profit organization, Homes for Our Troops.