Amputee Resource Depot
Greetings to my amputee brethren and other guests!
In this section I'd like to provide a little insight into the types of prosthetic components I use in everyday life as well as some of the cool athletic and more "extreme" stuff I'm using for different sports. I've been to several O & P conventions/shows around the country and questions about what I'm using have been among the most common. I've been an amputee now for just over 5 years. One thing that seems to impress some and raise questions for others, is the fact that I've had the same prosthetic setup/system for the last four years - meaning that my sleeve, suction system/valve, liner, socket and foot have been switched around seeking something "better." I had a great system before going on Survivor while training and preparing for the show and this system did me well for that adventure; this being a true test of the extremes of what prosthetic setups and stumps can endure.
While I agree that all amputees should try a variety of prosthetic setups with different combinations in an attempt to reach all their physical and/or athletic goals, I think I was lucky enough to have found the right combination from the start; this being in large part because I have one of the premiere prosthetists in the country. Wayne Koniuk at San Francisco Prosthetics has been a master craftsman, fabricator and expert in this field. His insight, intuition and sheer skill has allowed me to do what I've been doing as an amputee for the last 5 years and I feel lucky that Wayne was recommended to me early on.
That said - for those of you who are struggling with problems associated with your prosthetic components - you may NEED TO TRY SOMETHING NEW. Especially for older amputees or long time amputees - if you have the feeling that you may be able to do more, but don't want to change something that is comfortable or familiar, I'd recommend taking a closer look. Change is difficult sometimes, but if you give a new system/prosthetic setup some time (TIME and use is key) you will get accustomed to it and may see yourself doing more, physically, than you were able to do with your older (and often antiquated) system. Be patient, and an upgrade or change may pay big dividends!
Okay - here is what I use on a daily basis, from the ground ... up:
Where the rubber meets the road
Freedom Innovations Renegade foot. I did all the stuff on Survivor with this foot, have logged countless miles walking and hiking, and play soccer, tennis and all other sports with it. For more info about the Renegade, see http://www.freedom-innovations.com/.
2. The Peg: Titanium post
3. Socket System
I use a carbon fiber socket with a custom made silicone-injection liner. This basic ingenius system is the invention of my aforementioned prosthetist Wayne Koniuk. The whole thing is held together by suction system and supported by my Alps suspension sleeve. With an intact sleeve with NO air leakage, I get an excellent hold with absolutely NO pistoning or movement inside the socket. I tried a pin system briefly, but abandoned it as I experienced too much movement from within the liner. In the pin setup I tried, the liner/pin stayed firm inside the socket, as my stump pistoned inside. This was uncomfortable for me - however many others swear by the pin system. To each his own.
More extreme components used for athletics and recreation:
1. The Freedom Innovations Sprint Foot
I use this foot for running only. This is what I train with for distance running and it’s the one I use in road races and the runs in triathlons as well. Often people see this design of foot used in track and field - hence the name "Sprint Foot". Please see EVENT PHOTOS on this website to get a good look at my Sprint Foot in action.
2. The Swim foot
This setup has been awesome for me in lots of ways. On a daily basis, I use it as a shower leg. It is durable, waterproof and dries easily. However, this foot has a more adventurous alter-ego: swimming. The hollow lower leg is equipped with an Activeankle. This awesome invention uses an integrated key to "lock" and "unlock" the mechanical ankle into prone position for swimming - or at the regular 45 degree angle for walking/standing. I've completed many laps in the pool with this setup, and have done lots of open water swims. This is what I use in the triathlon swim.
3. Soccer setup*
When I first started playing soccer again, I would use a foam, cosmetic type covering to fill in the area between my socket and foot in order to cover the exposed titanium post. This post could seriously hurt another player, so it needs to be covered. However, at my first "celebrity" exhibition soccer match, I didn't yet have the setup shown below, and I was incognito! I was running around playing with shin guards and socks over this covering. The problem was that nobody knew anything unique was under there! Hey - if you're gonna get out there and play soccer with a fake foot, you might as well get some credit for it - right? Necessity is the mother of invention… and born out of the need for protection and recognition came this little showcase: the clear plastic post cover.
This cover is durable plastic and fits over the very top of my foot up to the bottom of my socket. I wrap it in high quality 3M 764 tape at the top and bottom to keep it from rattling around.
*Hopefully nobody from my soccer league is viewing this - but when I play on my regular team, I cover this up with a shin guard and soccer sock and it is hard to tell anything is awry. I have been playing in an indoor soccer league for several seasons now and have yet to tell the league officials, referees or the other teams about the fake foot. I don't want to stir up any dust - I just want to keep playing!