Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From work boots to tennis shoes

Ever wear a heavy pair of shoes/boots and then replace them with tennis shoes or slippers? You feel like you can jump to the moon without all that weight at the end of your legs!

OWW Pathfinder ( II )
On the morning of January 27, 2004, I took delivery of my 'preparatory' prosthetic leg with an Ohio Willow Wood Pathfinder low-profile foot attached to the bottom of it.  From all the research I was able to do, I found that the Pathfinder was, in my words, the Cadillac of feet.  On the back of the foot is an air-filled shock absorber made by Fox Racing Shox, which allows for greater impact absorbing during high levels of activity as well as "two axis" of movement for better walking action.  The double blue springs (mine are actually green - image is the newer Pathfinder II version) absorb energy as a person rolls forward on their foot and releases the energy back during the final ‘push off’ phase of the step.  While it doesn't show well in the image I have selected, the Pathfinder has a 'split-toe' concept, which allows for some side-to-side (inversion & eversion, if you really wanted to know the technical terms) movement as well. Even though the foot is heavier than most, the action it delivers during the walking phases justifies it use (especially for a big guy like me). Note: This is one of the primary feet being delivered to our US Military for their recent amputees.

A preparatory leg is supposed to be used for 6–9 months, and then a definitive leg is made.  Just over 24 months later, on January 31, 2006, I was casted for my definitive leg.  Why the long wait?  I have been working closely with my CP, Jonathan (certified prosthetist … my ‘leg man’), on various projects and have been able to obtain newer sockets since the original one.  One of the primary reasons for waiting for the final leg is to insure all the swelling and size changes in the residual limb (that’s the PC term for ‘stump’) have completed.

FI Renegade
Click on image to see it in motion
Jonathan and I have been discussing various feet options for several months (that just sounds weird, but we were), and we settled on the Freedom Innovations Renegade.  The Renegade model was less than a year old when I got the Pathfinder, but it has been receiving rave reviews since it’s debut in March 2003.  This just happens to be the same model foot that Chad Crittenden used during his time as a survivor in CBS’ Survivor Vanuatu season.

I went in for my first test fitting this morning and couldn't believe how everything felt. The socket fit like a glove (sorry, bad pun) and the foot felt like it should have been called the Freedom Innovations Feather-lite! It was hard to believe that I actually had a foot at the end of the socket due to the lack of weight. It took a little getting used to the change in walking action from the Pathfinder to the Renegade (single instead of two axis, solid instead of split-toe, etc), but after a few minutes and some alignment tweaks, it felt great. So great, that I asked if we could just go ahead and put the Renegade on the socket I wore in, so I could start using it today. I finally gave the socket and foot back, but was quick to setup my appointment for next week for delivery of the leg. While I love the Pathfinder, I believe the Renegade is going to become the daily-use foot. If only the Pathfinder were closer in weight to the Renegade ... but I guess I can't have it all!

I will post when that happens as well, because I have a surprise to share with everyone in regards to how the socket is look.
share on: facebook

No comments: