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4 Facts About Prosthetic Legs for Running

4 Facts About Prosthetic Legs for RunningIn the last decade or more there has been a sharp increase in the level of popular interest in amputees and prosthetic technologies, particularly around major sporting events like the Olympics and Paralympics. Chances are you’re not surprised to learn you can run with a prosthesis, but you may not know how much is involved to get  into running shape post-amputation.

There are different feet for different styles of running

If you’ve seen any amount of competitive running involving amputee athletes, you know how different prosthetic legs for running look compared to a prosthesis designed for daily wear. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as showing a picture to your prosthetist and buying the same foot as a famous sprinter; you have to know what style of running you want to do first. For example, the “blades” most typically seen around the track are mostly optimized for sprinting, which requires quick bursts of speed and little endurance.  In contrast, if you’re more interested in distance running, you need something designed  more for endurance than speed.

Your liner choice matters more than you’d think

Liner choice is almost more important than choosing the correct foot for two reasons: the liner helps to keep your prosthesis in place and you will sweat. Working in concert with the socket to keep the prosthesis in place, which is known as the prosthetic suspension system, is an important role of the liner. Choosing the right liner to maximize suspension is incredibly important to your safety given the increased level of forces involved with running—you don’t want your leg to reposition itself during a sprint and cause you to fall or injure your residual limb.

Sweating is a major concern

Sweating is also a serious concern for two primary reasons: it works against good suspension and it can exacerbate skin issues. When you sweat the moisture works against the sealing action required to maintain the high level of suspension required for running. Sweat can also pool around your residual limb keeping the area warm and moist, which are ideal conditions for bacteria to form and create serious skin issues if left untended. A conversation with a qualified prosthetist about your situation may yield a number of solutions to the problem and is highly recommended. From simply adding antiperspirant on your residual limb to wearing a shorter and thinner sock under your liner, there are several things that can help.

It’s not all about the Prosthesis

Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking all that separates you from the sprinters on TV is a new prosthesis. These athletes also have strict training regimens and have gone through lots of physical therapy to train their bodies and limit their possibility of injury. Just like the prosthetic leg for running is an entire system of parts design to do specific jobs, you have to build the rest of your “body system” to ensure you’re running optimally.

Interested in running and want to talk to a qualified prosthetist about prosthetic legs for running? Give Premier Prosthetic Center a call today at (865) 474-7096 or schedule a free consultation online and let our highly-qualified staff create prosthesis for your unique lifestyle with our specialized design and fitting process.

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