Prosthetics

I use many different types of prosthetics for both sport and life. For triathlon, I use separate prosthetics for the bike and the run. However, I do not use a prosthetic for the swim, as assistive swim devices are forbidden.

Running Prosthetic

When I started running in the late-80’s, I didn’t have a running prosthetic, I just ran with my everyday leg.  In the early-90’s, I began using the Flex-Sprint by Flex-Foot in track & field competition leading up to the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona.

A lot has changed in the past 20 years. First, I am no longer a sprinter, having “reinvented” myself as an endurance athlete. Also, Össur, which acquired Flex-Foot more than a decade ago, now manufacturers an entire line of running feet, providing a lot more options than existed when I first started out.

Today, I use the Össur Flex-Run with Nike Sole coupled with the Össur Total Knee 2100 for distance running. The Flex-Run is extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of applications, whether you are running in a softball game, a 5K or a marathon.

Cycling Prosthetic

It isn’t essential to have a separate cycling leg just to ride a bike. When I first started riding, I used my everyday leg and a standard bike shoe with a cleat to clip into the pedals. I tried toe straps early on, but quickly learned that clipping into the pedals was much better. Especially for amputees, the direct contact with the pedal is extremely helpful.

Sarah with Cycling LegOnce I got more serious about cycling and triathlon I had my prosthetist build me a special leg just for the bike. While I typically prefer the Össur Total Knee 2100, for my cycling leg, I went with the Total Knee 2000 because it is lighter. For the foot, we shortened an Össur Vari-Flex, cutting the “toes” off and bolting a bike cleat right to the bottom of the carbon foot. The socket is pretty standard; it just has a lower trim line so it doesn’t rub on my upper thigh or hips when I pedal for hours. I don’t make any adaptations to my bikes. However, since I am basically riding with one leg and I can’t get out of the saddle on hills, I find a big range of gears is an absolute necessity.

Everyday Prosthetic

Traditionally, my everyday setup of choice has been the Össur Total Knee 2100 combined with the Össur Vari-Flex foot and Össur Dermo 3mm and 6mm liners. I have used this combination for years. However, recently, I switched to the new Össur Vari-Flex XC, as I find it has a more dynamic toe off that makes it all that much easier for me to get around while expending less energy.

Cosmetic Prosthetics

Ossur Elation
Sarah in Beige Dress
Sarah's Fairing

When I have a gala or red carpet event that calls for a dress and heels, I reach for my “Barbie” foot, an Össur Elation with 2.5 inches of heel height adjustability that is wrapped in a silicone cover from A Step Ahead Prosthetics. More recently, thanks to Scott Summit and the artists at Bespoke Innovations, I’ve added a super bling fairing to my “glam” look.

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