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Assist Technol. 2009 Spring;21(1):25-7. doi: 10.1080/10400430902945827.

Transtibial prosthesis suspension failure during skydiving freefall: a case report.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of California at Los Angeles/Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA.


This report describes the unusual case of an everyday-use prosthesis suspension system failure during the freefall phase of a skydiving jump. The case individual was a 53-year-old male with a left transtibial amputation secondary to trauma. He used his everyday prosthesis, a transtibial endoskeleton with push-button, plunger-releasing, pin-locking silicon liner suction suspension and a neoprene knee suspension sleeve, for a standard recreational tandem skydive. Within seconds of exiting the plane, the suspension systems failed, resulting in the complete prosthesis floating away. Several factors may have led to suspension system failure, including an inadequate seal and material design of the knee suspension sleeve and liner, lack of auxiliary suspension mechanisms, and lack of a safety cover overlying the push-button release mechanism. This is the first report, to our knowledge, to discuss prosthetic issues specifically related to skydiving. While amputees are to be encouraged to participate in this extreme sport, special modifications to everyday components may be necessary to reduce the possibility of prosthesis failure during freefall, parachute deployment, and landing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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