Clients that were active before their amputation may want to return to the lifestyles they were accustomed to. Running, sprinting or trail running are some of the activities that they may want to return to.
Although it is possible to run on some standard prostheses for a short distance, most patients require a more specialised running prosthesis. This would enable them to run further and longer without experiencing stump discomfort or fatigue, due to the advanced high activity componentry used.
Running is possible
Running is still possible for some amputees with lower limb amputations however it may require some training with a Biokineticist or Physiotherapist that specialises in gait training for these activities. The level of amputation (above knee, through knee or below knee) does play an important role in regards to the ease and efficiency of gait whilst running. The level of your amputation has a direct impact on the level of energy expenditure as well as the weight of the prosthesis.
Although it is possible to run for a short distance on some standard prostheses, most require more specialised running prostheses. These prostheses would differ to a standard prosthesis by making use of higher activity category components such as carbon fibre running blades and titanium components. These running blades allow for high impact and resultant shock absorption which reduces stress and shear forces to the residual limb therefore decreasing discomfort over longer distances.
Activities that may require these specialised components are as follows:
- Road running
- Track running
- Trail running
- Field and court sports
The Running Prosthesis
The most commonly used method of suspension for a running prosthesis is by means of vacuum. This is achieved with a silicone liner and seal-in ring with a one way expulsion valve. A knee sleeve may also be used to aid in maintaining suspension and would also negate the need for a seal-in ring if required.
A running prosthesis is made with specialised running specific components. These components are sourced from international companies such as Ossur and Ottobock, and the cost of these components are very similar to your higher end everyday prosthetic components that you maybe currently using.
Recreational runners or trail runners may opt for the Flex Run blade from Ossur as it gives some shock absorption as well as a very good energy return. Sprinters on the other hand usually prefer the Cheetah blade from Ossur or the 1E90 Sprinter carbon spring foot from Ottobock. These blades are available for children too.
Above knee (TF) and through knee (KD) amputees either opt for the 3S80 or the 3R46 knee joint from Otto Bock. These are the same components that are used by most Paralympians when competing professionally.