It’s remarkable how many things a runner must consider when preparing for a race. You walk, run, establish a strong core, and improve your mental strength for months, several hours a day (and night). You must ensure that your feeding, hydration, clothes, and footwear are all appropriate for your needs. Then there are the blisters and chafing to contend with. Let’s add a prosthetic limb to make things a little more interesting. You’ll need to think of a lot of different things to keep going now, and there’s not a lot of information out there for amputee runners.
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There aren’t many people who run on carbon legs, especially over long distances. A prosthetic blade appears cool and quick from the outside. It appears that you may bounce around the rocks like a fairy without feeling anything, that you won’t develop blisters or sprained ankles, and that your foot won’t get wet when running through water. While some of these statements are correct, it is not that simple.
The Basics of a Prosthetic Leg:
It’s crucial to learn the basics of a prosthetic leg to properly understand amputee runners. The foot, which can also be a blade, comes first (that you see runners wear during the Paralympics). The socket is the second component, while the liner is the third. All three come together to produce a prosthetic leg.
The section of your leg where the amputation occurred, known as the stump (or residual limb), will need to be linked to the prosthetic leg. This is how it works: The liner fits snugly over your stump, then into the socket (which is molded around your stump), which is then attached to the foot or blade.
The liner can be connected to the socket in a variety of ways. We use a pin socket for walking, which means the liner has a pin built into it that glides or clicks into the socket. Suction sockets are formed around your leg and the liner and socket fit very tightly into each other for running. Through a valve at the bottom of the socket, the air is pumped out. A vacuum system is also included, which consists of a liner that fits over your socket and leg and creates a vacuum to maintain your leg in the socket.
More on Sockets:
This is a critical piece of gear, and it must fit properly or you will not be able to travel very far. The pin socket, on the other hand, is fantastic for walking—and it’s simple to turn on and off at night if we need to go to the bathroom—but it’s not great for sprinting. It causes excessive pistoning (when your leg goes up and down in the socket)—it feels like your foot is moving about in a shoe that is too wide, and the friction creates blisters. We’ve discovered that the suction technique works well for running and keeps us firmly in position. This system has the least number of sweating difficulties out of all of them.
Another common option, particularly for runners, is a suction system. The problem with this approach is that it necessitates the use of a long sleeve to cover your leg and socket. We just found it difficult to roll up, and because it fits so snugly around our knees, I didn’t have a lot of freedom of motion.
More on Running Feet:
There are a lot of alternatives when it comes to running shoes, and we’ve tried a few of them. Because each person is unique and will have a distinct fit, it is ultimately a personal decision. The most difficult aspect of running shoes is that they are pricey, and you can’t just try one on and see if you like it. It’s not like you can throw away your shoes if you don’t like them.
As a single-leg amputee, you must make sure that the foot and blade you select correspond to the natural pushback you receive from your healthy leg, or you will run lopsidedly. You must strike the proper balance. You feel like you’re jogging with a rock connected to your leg because there isn’t enough pushback. Your leg will bounce excessively high if you apply too much pushback, hurting your hips.
These Are The Legs We Have The Most Experience With:
We got off on the right foot with the Freedom Innovation Catapult. This is a terrific option for individuals who are just getting started, and it’s quite simple to alter.
When we first started trail running, we switched to the Fillauer Obsidian because the split toe lets us run over rocks and roots. We feel better balanced in it, and the tread is excellent. The Fillauer foot’s only drawback is that it’s a little difficult to set up at first, and you’ll almost certainly require professional assistance.
This is the foot you walk with. You utilize this foot to power hike as part of your ultramarathon preparation.
Ossur Flex Run With Nike Sole:
Among amputee athletes, this foot appears to be a popular choice. It has excellent tread, and the Ossur brand has been around for quite some time, so you can trust it.
More on Liners:
It’s just as vital to choose a liner that works for you as it is for the socket. We utilize the Ossur Iceross Seal-In and the Otto Bock Skinguard for our walking socket. The disadvantage of the walking liner is that it does not last very long; we must change it every six months.
What Is the Cost of Running Blades?
Prosthetics for running are costly, and not all insurance carriers will pay them. Prosthetics can range in price from $10,000 to $50,000. A few wonderful charity can help with running blades and financing, but there are also other alternatives.
Amputee Blade Runners
Challenged Athletes Foundation
How Do You Handle Sweat?
Sweating is a major problem while using prosthetic walking or running legs. Nothing is scarier (besides a snake!) then going for a run and having your leg slide off from the sweat. Because one method may generate more perspiration than another, you must consider the benefits and drawbacks. You don’t sweat as much with the pin and sucking systems as you do with the vacuum system, but sweating is still a concern.
How Do You Handle Rubbing, Chafing, and Blisters?
The socket would rub on sections of your bone when you first started running with a blade, which was uncomfortable and painful. It helps to rub some lube—you use Squirrel’s Nut Butter—on certain locations. (If you have this problem, talk to your prosthetist about having a new socket made that is broader to ease the pressure.)
When it comes to blisters, they might appear on both your foot and your stump. When it comes to blisters, the key is to make sure your skin isn’t rubbing too much and isn’t damp, which can be difficult when you’re an amputee. Again, lubricating the areas that are prone to blisters will help. Also, make sure your socket fits properly—your stump will swell when it gets hot and shrink when it gets cold, much like your foot. It’s difficult to find something that fits properly every time.
When it comes to running blades, there is nothing better than them. If there was enough time, you’d try every running blade and give a comprehensive analysis of them all. We hope that more people have the opportunity to have a running blade.