There are several types of “sports” prostheses, both upper and lower extremity, which can be custom designed and fabricated to meet the needs of an adult or pediatric patient’s specific activity or sport. In many cases, a different socket with adaptive components is necessary to meet the requirements of the sport or specialty activity engaged in. These are incredibly diverse systems compared to an “everyday” prosthesis. Modifications in socket design, components and suspension are essential to create a prosthesis that facilitates use by the elite athlete, or weekend warrior.
Many common activities such as running or cycling require specific changes to the socket design, alignment, interface material, suspension and foot selection. A different criterion is used for the type of runner or cyclist. (ie: long distance, sprinter etc.) In both cases, individual users may have different needs, and communication between the user and prosthetist is essential.
For activities that require specific adaptation and/or modifications, such as rock climbing, mountaineering and scuba diving, specialized feet, ankles and suspension mechanisms are modified and adapted to facilitate the needs. Many of these devices will need to meet rigors that are beyond normal parameters and consideration for safety, agility and durability is crucial
Many prosthetic users enjoy golfing. Depending on the level of amputation, and which side the prosthesis is used; adapters and certain shock - rotators can be incorporated to assist the user. Feet that also allow flexibility for uneven surfaces also assist the user. Generally, these adapters can be incorporated into the user’s everyday prosthesis.
There are many activities which can be adapted for sports and activities for the upper extremity user. Terminal devices that are specific to cycling, golf, archery, fishing, kayaking, hunting and swimming all can be adapted to a modified socket. Many terminal devices may need to be custom fabricated to the specific needs of the user’s specific activity.
The key process for any prosthesis fabricated for sports or special activities is to ultimately give the user the best possible prosthesis to accomplish their goals specific to the activity they are engaged in.