Friday, March 30, 2012

Flex-Run carbon fibre blade

Össur have developed a new prosthetic foot made specifically for runners with the help of the record-setting athlete and amputee, Sarah Reinertsen. After filming Reinertsen with high-speed cameras and motion control devices, the company’s engineers reshaped the Flex-Run foot to provide a prototype with a more natural stride. The carbon fiber blade was extended at the toe and the C-shape shank was adjusted to improve forward energy return and smooth the roll-over on each stride. Nike completed the project by combining the prosthesis with a new Nike Sole. Nike developed an integrated layered sole which includes an outsole, midsole and thermal plastic urethane called Aeroply, made of recycled Nike Air Bag units. Nine nylon plastic tabs serve as fingers that wrap snugly around the Flex-Run carbon fibre blade for secure lock down and easy on-off. A stretch rubber leash with tactile grip tab for easy placement over medallion fastener provides additional security. The addition of a new foot orthoses ensures added stability to the below knee prosthesis. After two years testing Össur recently released the new Flex-Run model to great acclaim. Van Phillips invented the C-shaped prosthetic foot and was inspired in design by the shape and function of a pole vault pole. He used carbon fibre because if it’s weight and strength. The pole stores and releases energy as the person moves on it, thereby allowing for a more natural gait. It also absorbed shocks vertically, which protected the rest of the body from excessive jarring. It was the first prosthetic that allowed lifelike movement. Those C-shaped blades have been refined through the years, but they’re still the most common for active use. Phillips’ invention invigorated the field of sports biomechanics. Scientists learned more about how the human body moves and began prescribing more specialized training for athletes. By analysing the techniques of individual athletes, specific deficiencies can be identified and training regimens tailored to address them. Studies have shown that when an amputee runs with carbon-blade prostheses, they use about the same metabolic energy as a person running with biological limbs. But when the pace slows to walking speed, amputees use a higher metabolic energy than someone walking on two legs. Until prosthesis comes along that can reduce that extra effort, amputees face physical problems from the stress of everyday movement.

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