ORLANDO, Fla. – Socket design is crucial for running success, and the socket should be anatomically shaped to ensure maximum comfort, according to a presenter here at the American Academy Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium.

Peter Harsch, CP, a USA triathlon certified coach and owner of Peter Harsch Prosthetics, discussed ways to improve outcomes for lower extremity amputee runners.

“If you are going to be fitting a running leg for an amputee, it is going to be hard because that limb is going to change,” he said. “And you are going to spend a lot of time keeping up with that fit.”

Socket fit is especially important for transfemoral amputees because high trim lines could cause discomfort and pain or impede proper form.


Peter Harsch

“If they are not comfortable, they are not going to load that prosthesis,” Harsh said. “If they are not loading the prosthesis, they are going to be deviating, and running is all about technique for good efficiency.”

Harsch recommended using video footage from treadmill running or cell phone applications, such as Coach my Video, to analyze a patient’s running form. He also suggested working with certified coaches and running groups or sending patients to mobility clinics, such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s running clinics, to help patients learn proper running form.

“That will take some of the pressure off of you as a prosthetist,” he said. “Your patients are going to have a lot of questions, and those people can help.”

For more information:

Harsch P. Considerations for improving running performance and prosthetic outcomes. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. Feb. 20-23, 2013. Orlando, Fla.

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