Prototype Symes Flex Feet for a Bilateral Partial Foot Athelete


Tony is a 17 year old with bilateral congenital partial foot deficiencies. He is the first person to run competitively on a pair of prototype Symes Flex Feet. Prior to being fit with Flex Feet, Tony preferred to wear a low profile self-suspending prosthesis on his right leg. The prosthesis extended distally and was simply designed to level his hips-no foot attached.

Tony competed in the PAN AM games in March '89 and in the USAAA National finals in August '89, winning a total of six gold metals: one in the 60 in., two in the 100 in., and the 200 in. each, and one in basketball.

After seeing Tony compete in the USAAA finals, representatives from Flex Foot Company approached Tony and offered to donate a pair of prototype Symes Flex Feet. This necessitated the fitting and fabrication of newly designed sockets for these feet. Since the new prostheses were intended to be used for competitive running, a strong, lightweight design and an intimate, comfortable fit were of major importance. Cosmesis, in this case was of minor significance.

In November '89, Tony returned to Shriners Hospital where I fit him with low profile self-suspending prostheses using these newly designed Symes Feet. Two weeks later, on December 7th, Tony competed in the Victory games, winning two gold metals, breaking his own records in the 100 and 200 meter runs. This is particularly significant as Tony had only two practice runs on the Flex Feet and had not been running on a regular basis.

The prototype Symes Flex Feet have made an obvious improvement in Tony's running abilities. A high-strength lightweight socket design without compromising comfort or sufficient support aided in the success of the prostheses.

Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, 3101 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97201