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What Prosthetic Foot Should I Have?

I've seen a number of questions posted by amputees regarding various aspects of using their prosthesis.

One of them is:

"What prosthetic foot should I have?"

Well, there are over 350 different prosthetic foot/ankle systems.

You should be given the opportunity to actually evaluate & test them - in whatever activity you do - to determine which foot/ankle provides the best:

- Stability

- Security

- Safety, and

- Function

With the least amount of energy expenditure.

First, we have to understand what it is you do on a regular basis - if that means you're walking around the block, running around the block, playing softball, baseball, basketball, etc. - the latter requires a greater sense of functionality.

Your prosthetist should know the functional characteristics of each of the 350+ prosthetic foot/ankle systems.

There are groups - for example, there are about 20-40 that are made specifically for people who want to be active - like running, basketball, baseball, frisbee, or jogging.

So, we'll take those particular feet based on:

- Your body weight

- Your limb length

- What kind of control you have, and

- What your activity level is.

We'll pick 2-6 feet or more and you will be able to walk on them, and evaluate them; whether it's just in the clinic or you go home and perform that particular activity, and use that one for a few days. Then you'll come back, get another foot, and you can do that comparison.

So, throughout the process of elimination we will ultimately find the foot that you feel is the best for you.

If you're going to competitively run, for example, there are specialized foot designs that you no doubt have seen on TV or magazines, that are designed specifically for running - either sprinting or long distance running. You can talk to your prosthetist about that.

Overall, your prosthetist should be knowledgeable and should be your best resource to advise you and help you find the foot/ankle system that is the best for you.

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