Using the Endolite Echelon Prosthetic Foot
I had the Endolite Echelon prosthetic foot issued to me for work and day to day life and for those purposes it was a fantastic foot, it really did make my day to day life easier and I was actually able to ride a push bike with it which was a massive bonus!
Where I worked at the time had lots of metal plate flooring with ramps and vast staircases, my carbon foot was just not forgiving enough and was quite hard work when getting around the workplace, my lower back was giving me a lot of grief at the time so I had this foot issued to me from my local NHS DSC.
How the Echelon foot worked for me.
As a below knee amputee I personally would say the thing you miss the most is the ankle movement and to some extent this foot gives you some of that back, it also has a nice split toe base which also works well on cambers, it really is a very comfortable foot and if I still had it I would still use it for certain things. The foot’s ankle movement is smooth and does not feel jerky, you get used to it very quickly and you soon realise what an excellent foot this is.
One of the issues I’d have with the carbon foot was that I would need to change to different foot wear in my work environment and my carbon foot was set to the heel height of my favourite trainers, but at work I would need to change foot wear and this caused some issues due to the heel height of my work shoes been different.
With the echelon this was no longer a problem, I could change to just about any foot wear except high heels, not that I wear high heels. This is due to the ankle movement of the foot which would compensate for the change in heel height, so changing foot wear was no longer a problem.
I was no longer restricted to wearing a limited range of foot wear which was rather nice in itself. If you are a person who likes his/her shoes just on that aspect this could be an ideal foot for you, as you will be able to change your shoes as you please without sacrificing the walking comfort of the foot.
The foot can deal well with slopes but it does depend on how steep the slope is, but either way you will generally get more of the sole of your foot onto the floor which in turn will give you more grip. This was very good for me when I was walking on metal sheet ramps which can be slippy at the best of times, the foot design also took some of the load away from my back.
When I was walking upstairs I found that I did not need to raise my foot as high from step to step, their-fore using less energy which was noticeable!
When I was seated I found advantages from this foot such as having my feet out and pointing down slightly which was enough to stop my foot sliding across the floor on certain surfaces, which I’m sure you can imagine can be annoying.
As I could bring my feet closer to the base of the chair when standing up from the seated position it made standing from seated just that little bit easier. All these things when added together over the course of a typical day really do make a difference and this is why I would describe this foot as a very comfortable foot to use.
As mentioned earlier I could also use this foot on a push bike as the ankle movement was enough to get me over the top of the crank, there was still a dead spot but it was significantly reduced. I don’t know if it would be suitable for mountain biking as I only cycle the odd time to work, but it certainly was easier and safer than trying to cycle with one of my carbon feet.
I don’t believe there is a foot that is perfect in every aspect and it really is down to picking the correct foot for your lifestyle, at the time that I was using this foot regularly it was very suitable for my lifestyle.
I was overall very happy with it and if you have to deal with lots of stairs and slopes this foot is a godsend.
What downside did I find using the Echelon foot.
One thing which was a very small issue was that sometimes the foot would be pointing in the wrong way for your first step, what I mean by that is that it would be pointing down at the toe when really you want the heel to be hitting the floor first. It was only a small issue, but one that you should be aware of as you soon get into the habit of ensuring that the toe is up for your first step. After a little while you end up doing this automatically and you don’t really notice it anymore but I thought this would be worth a mention.
The other thing is that it is not a high energy return foot, it did not seem to give enough of a bounce back but I am on the heavy side so that may be a factor in this regard, I found it difficult to run with it due to the lack of bounce.
I would say the last issue for me with this foot was that it had hydraulic parts inside and because I don’t have my leg pylon covered, dust and grit would get inside the foot shell, I remedied this by fitting a leather shroud over the top of the foot. That been said you still will need to watch where you go with this foot it certainly is not suitable for wading in the ocean. Walking on sandy beaches may also cause issues.
My summary of the Echelon foot.
This foot is excellent and would be suitable for lots of people, it is less tiring to use and makes your day to day life easier and it was great for me to be able to wear any footwear I desired. It’s not so good for running on in my view and you will have to be mindful of your environment so as not to damage it but besides that I still like this foot and if I still had one I know I would use it often for my day to day life and on the odd bike ride.