How Advanced Prosthetics Are Changing the World of Sports and Its Athletes

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How Advanced Prosthetics Are Changing the World of Sports and Its Athletes

The worlds of sports and prosthetics are colliding, resulting in a realm of advanced prosthetics that has catapulted athletes into an era of revolutionary gains.

In the past few decades, the world of sports prosthetics for athletes has realized technological advancements that have allowed artificial body parts to become increasingly refined and targeted for high-level competition. From the rudimentary attempts at large-movement limbs through early research in the field to the pinpoint accuracy of advanced prosthetics for eyes, fingers and more, these modern innovations are making rivals out of the machines seen in sci-fi movies. Advanced sports prosthetics are enabling today’s top athletes to not only participate in their chosen sport, but to excel on an international level as well.

Prosthetics for Sports Athletes Used Today

Utilizing prosthetics for sports athletes to allow amputees to engage in their favorite sports is not a new concept. The combination of technology and cutting edge materials, however, has pushed the industry beyond simply allowing these athletes to enjoy their chosen sport. Athletes like Olympic track trailblazer Oscar Pistorius and X Games pro Mike Schultz are making history every time they compete, and are now passing the torch.

Blades

These intricately curved lower-extremity prosthetics are arguably the most advanced and well-known sports prosthetics currently in use thanks to South African track and field superstar Oscar Pistorius. During his iconic appearance in the 2012 London Olympics as the first double leg amputee competing against able-bodied athletes, the ‘Blade Runner,’ as Pistorius is known, wore specially designed blades that allowed him to sprint at high speeds.

Made of carbon fiber optimized using computer analysis and mechanical testing, these blades are specially fabricated to match the runner’s weight and impact level while providing the appropriate amount of traction. The original Flex-Foot blades worn by Pistorius were designed by Francois Van Der Watt who now practices at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics in Fort Smith and has since worked with many other Paralympic athletes around the world.

Moto Knee & Versa Foot

After losing his leg in a snowmobile accident, X Games snowmobile and motocross racer Mike Schultz invented his own prosthetic because he couldn’t find one that allowed for the range of motion he needed to race again successfully. Called the Moto Knee and Versa Foot, his system utilizes a unique design that combines rugged, but lightweight materials with shock absorbers and spring actions to withstand participation in extreme sports. In less than two years after his accident, Schultz won both the silver and gold medals in the Adaptive Motocross games and started BioDapt to produce these prosthetics for other athletes to use in competition.

Upper-Limb Prosthetics

Though lower-limb prosthetics get a great deal of press due to their extraordinary design and performance, upper-limb sports prosthetics for athletes also combine advanced technology with hybrid materials so that athletes can experience their chosen sport. Specially-modified prosthetics like the Viau system for swimming, the Eagle for golfing, the Pinch Hitter for baseball, the Power Play for hockey, or hooks for bicycling all work to mimic the functions of fingers, arms, and elbows.

With state of the art equipment and fabrication techniques that are constantly being refined to address the unique needs and body composition of each athlete, Horton’s provides cutting edge solutions that allow athletes to excel. Call 501-683-8889 or contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics to learn more about how we provide some of the most advanced sports prosthetics for athletes across the world.

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