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Lower Limb Prosthetics for Swimmers

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Overview


Many individuals with lower-limb loss were active swimmers before the amputation, and a large portion of those people want to get back to this healthy activity that strengthens limbs, improves gait, and increases range of motion.


You should keep in mind that these prosthetics are not always covered by insurance, so you may need to contact your Ortheco Prosthetics for further information.


Popular Swimming Components


As you probably know, swimming with your regular prosthetic or a water-resistant prosthetic is not a good idea since they are predisposed to damage and rust. That leaves us with specialty waterproof prosthetics. Now there are some water-resistant prosthetics as well, but let's focus on getting into all the way in the water.


Ankle and Foot Prosthetics

One of the most popular swim ankles is the Rampro. This company specializes in ankles meant for the active amputee, and they are meant for submerged water use.


A great multi-use foot is from Freedom Innovations, it's called Freestyle Swim foot

and it allows someone the ability to walk to the water and with a push of a button will switch you into swim mode.


A foot can even come with treads for slippery areas, Ottobock's Aqua Foot does just that. It's also fully sealed on top and bottom from water, and it's split front toes are designed to accommodate flip-flops.


There are higher performance options out there; such as the AMP FIN. This unique design offers an amputee the option of a fin attachment rather than an adjustable foot; great for physical therapy or higher performance aquatic athletics such as swimming and diving.


Knee Prosthetics


Perhaps the most popular choice in this category is the Ottobook’s X3 prosthetic,

which is completely waterproof and endures hours of underwater activities.

It is designed for above knee amputees who regularly engage in work or activities that encounter water, dust, sand, or dirt/grime.


Another design is the Aulie knee, which has similar specifications to the X3, meaning that the manufacturer incorporated plastic material, protective coatings, and zinc-covered components. Aulie specializes in knees suitable for the water and beach.


Waterproof Cover

An entirely new prosthetic for swimming may not be necessary, since there are waterproof covers out there which are much more affordable. The major drawback of these is the bulkiness of them, since they are designed to be used on varieties of limb lengths. And you must also be very careful of the seal, if that is jeopardized so will be the components inside.


Older/back-up Prosthesis

Some people prefer to use a “back-up” prosthesis exclusively for swimming; however, this option comes with one obvious disadvantage. If you have ditched your previous device, it was probably because it didn’t fit anymore or caused inconveniences, and therefore, it might not be the best choice for this type of activity.


Conclusion


There are many options available for amputees to achieve success in the water. Choosing your prosthetics carefully is an important step to avoid wasting time and money. Work with your Prosthetist to decide what components are right for you and your goals.


If you have any questions about Prosthetics or interested in using our services please give us a call at 314-492-0080. We have 3 convenient locations; St. Louis MO, Cape Girardeau MO and Springfield IL. We'd love to hear your thoughts - so please leave your comments below.


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