Rollerskating with a Prosthetic leg
My wife and I started taking our daughter to the local skating rink and teaching her to skate. After some time of watching them on the floor, Kaitie asked me if I would skate with her. Well, we all know the last thing a leg amputee needs is wheels so I sadly explained to her that I just couldn't do it. After explaining it to her yet again I began to wonder if there was some way I could skate. To make a long story short I bought a pair of skates and pieced together a lower leg just for skating, complete with an articulating ankle made from a windsurfing universal joint. I'm not a great skater but I can get out there and skate with my family now.
I started with Targa speed skates that came with Riedell boots and Sure-Grip plates and wheels.
Basic design. Articulating ankle which allows limited rotation in dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion. Each value of rotation was approximated then fine tuned by actual testing to maintain wheel contact and imitate natural function.
I modified the skate by installing an aluminum plate which matches the contour of the boot sole. The four bolts which attach the truck plate to the boot pass through the boot and into this aluminum plate. In this manner the prosthetic ankle mounts in concert with the truck plate and not just the boot, thus minimizing flexing and maximizing skate control.
Quicktime movie (5.6MB!) of me at the rink during one of my skate tests.
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