A project from a couple of Masters students in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University, FlexLegs is sort of like a cross between crutches and Oscar Pistorius's super-fast lower-leg prostheses. They promise to allow those with lower leg injuries to walk, run, tackle steps, and more. Say the creators: "If we can help a person with no legs to run, why can't we help a person with an injured leg to walk?"
It has advantages over regular crutches, even space-age crutches like the MobiLegs we tested awhile back. The FlexLegs system doesn't require the use of your arms or hands, for one thing, and also lets you walk with your regular rhythm, rather than the swinging way you walk with crutches. That said, it also seems like it might be uncomfortable with extended use, and we're not sure about cramping or losing feeling in the lower leg--plus, you can't use it if you're wearing a cast. But as the video shows, it is definitely more natural for getting around than crutches--could be a good option for those prone to ankle sprains. The team is working on getting the FlexLegs into production now.
This looks like it has good potential in some ways. But I also worry of enhancing the possibility of getting a bone splinter in your blood and having a stroke or something as bad.
I hope some medical doctors see this technology and make their opinions known.
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Open your mind and see!
They have talked to many during the development process, but that does raise a good question as to which injuries it should be used for.
I'd be worried the injured leg would not be seen by others and run into frequently... Without the dead giveaway (like crutches) that reveal an injury, what's to say people will know to look down when walking behind to avoid further injury? Great idea, but crowded situations would require something more protective I feel.
There is a major difference between the person without a leg using this and a person that just broke their leg.
Using a leg like this actually takes a fair amount of practice and to be good with it, a LOT of practice. For the relatively short period of time someone is on crutches it might not be worth it.
And then there is the safety part. When I broke my leg many years ago I was walking along and hit an icy patch and fell down. It strikes me that something similar would be very possible with this arrangement too.
On the leg circlet, possibly a laminated cable that can snare the heel; or, if no heel, then wrap the foot. Use that drop from the circlet above the knee to the foot to your advantage-and still make your current marketing scheme because it's only making one hole, and adding one adjustable cable rig. Simple fix.
FlexLeg Pseudo-Prosthesis Lets You Run When Your Leg Is Broken, dangerous, though it may be.
WOW I want this thing right now.
years back I shattered my ankle, heel and just about every bone in my right foot in a bad skydiving accident. The doctors thought of amputation but choose not too. So to say I have been living in pain since have only about 30% movement of the ankle. So running and many activities are our of the questions and most days just happy to walk around. Over the years arthritis has become another problem. The last flair up has left me totally unable to put any weight on my foot. I was on crutches for two weeks till insurance agreed to pay for a leg scooter. My doctor wants to do a total bone fusion on the ankle that would leave me with a club foot with Zero movement she says at least i wont have any more pain. I might consider the fusion if i have one of these that would allow me to be active again. How can I get one to try? I would love to be part of a user study too.
Thanks for your article and interest in FlexLeg Dan! We've had a great time working on this project. We are continuing to work hard to develop a stable, comfortable and liberating mobility solution for those with temporary injuries below the knee. To answer some of the questions in the article, we are planning on this working with various forms of casting. We have been receiving input from over 20 doctors from among physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists etc. to make this product function for a wide range of below knee injuries. We are days away from starting our long term testing but we have had an injured person on one of our prototypes for 4+ days in a row and because the leg sits at rest on the platform (just like it would on a knee scooter) there was no cramping or soreness involved. He also had a boot on his leg. But we are getting closer to launching and will soon have some longer term testing behind the final product. Thanks again for catching us and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.