A Modified Outrigger for "Three-Track" Skiing

Duane G. Messner, M.D.

Articles in the December 1968 and June 1969 Inter-Clinic Information Bulletin1,2 described the initiation of amputee ski programs by Children's Hospital and Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver.

One of the items of special equipment required in these programs was a short outrigger ski which had been developed by the amputee ski group in Portland, Ore. Two of these outrigger skis plus a regular ski on the sound leg were used by above-knee and hip-disarticulation amputees skiing "three-track" (without prostheses). A necessary adjunct to the outrigger ski was a plunger device to bring a spike down into the snow when the three-track skier was progressing on flat snow or up a small hill. The development of a satisfactory plunger proved to be one of the more difficult problems encountered in the entire program.

This article describes the earlier "standard" outrigger and reports on a modified version of the plunger device developed during the past year.

The Standard Outrigger

Two adjustable forearm crutches are attached to a pair of short skis with rocker mechanism (Fig. 1 ). The rocker was purchased from the Flying Outrigger Ski Club of Portland, Ore.

The spike, which is mounted on the heel of the ski, was designed by the Brace Shop at Fitzsimons General Hospital. It must be retracted before the skier starts downhill (Fig. 1 , Fig. 2 , and Fig. 3). The spike is used in a down position (Fig. 4 ) for walking on flat snow or for climbing.

The spike is constructed in a telescoping manner, with a protruding rod which rides in a track cut in the outer portion of the telescope. A groove at the lower end "locks" the spike down. This is accomplished by manually pushing the spike down and turning it into the groove (Fig. 2 and Fig. 4 ).

The spike is retracted by turning it out of the groove. The spring will then carry it up and hold it in place (Fig. 2 ).

The Modified Outrigger

The rocker operates in the same manner as the one on the standard outrigger. The bolts and nuts (circled in Fig. 5 ) can be adjusted to alter the angle of the rocker action.

The spike is constructed with a trigger-spring mechanism. Pushing down on the black ball (Fig. 6 ) forces the spike into the down position (Fig. 7 ).

Pushing the flat metal piece shown to the right of the plunger in Fig. 8 retracts the spike.

The spike may be mounted either in front of or behind the rocker.

Duane G. Messner is associated with Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado

1. Ditmer, Joanne, Fun on one leg and three skis, Inter-Clin. Information Bull., 8:19-24, Dec. 1968.
2. Stanek, William F., Report of the juvenile amputee ski program, Inter-Clin. Information Bull., 8:1-10, June 1969.