Doug’s shinfinTM fins enabled him to quickly return to his previous swimming level after his bilateral below-knee amputations. He finds his fins give him similar control, steering and stability as he had when he had feet. They also allow him to pull harder with his arms for powerful whole-body exercise. This is because the left fin kick balances his right arm pull and vice versa. He thinks he may eventually be a better swimmer with shinfinTM fins than he was before his amputations! He loves them so much he bought another pair so he is never without them, and to loan to friends.
Doug’s review from Coquitlam, Canada
“I had bilateral below–knee amputations last April, and my prosthetist told me about shinfinTM fins for swimming. I got mine in October, and they were an immediate success. I’ve been swimming regularly since, and found myself able to get back to my previous swimming level quite quickly, despite not having been able to swim for 2+ years. I now swim 2 km in under an hour, twice weekly. I have found the fins give me the same sort of stability, steering, and control that I had when I had feet. I’m now learning to use my legs for powerful kicking in a few ways. So I may eventually be better than I was before my amputations. I’m loving being back in the water.”
“I really appreciate your passion and dedication to making the experience of using shinfinTM fins positive for so many people individually. I have, indeed, found that kicking with the shinfinTM fins opposite to my arm pulls, allows me to pull harder with my arms. They really help me make swimming even more of a whole-body exercise. I have ordered a second set of shinfinTM fins because my wife said I shouldn’t chance ever being without a pair. Also, I’m keen to let some of my friends with feet try them out (and I certainly don’t want to give mine up for that!).”
Doug’s review: Fins for swimming again with bilateral below-knee amputations
“I had bilateral below-knee amputations last April, and my prosthetist told me about shinfinTM fins for swimming. I got mine in October, and they were an immediate success. I’ve been swimming regularly since, and found myself able to get back to my previous swimming level quite quickly, despite not having been able to swim for 2+ years. I now swim 2 km in under an hour, twice weekly. I can swim without the shinfinTM fins, and, truth be told, I was never much of a kicker anyway. But I have found the fins give me the same sort of stability, steering, and control that I had when I had feet. I’m now learning to use my legs for powerful kicking in a few ways. So I may eventually be better than I was before my amputations.”
“I may have misunderstood your instructions for putting them on and adjusting the straps but I didn’t find that it was at all easy to put the straps through the buckles and/or adjust them once my residual limbs were through the bottom strap loops. I did find that I was able to adjust the tension to a good setting without my legs in them, then slide my residual limbs in afterward.”
“Now that I have them adjusted to fit me, I can slip my residual limb through the top strap loops. I then grab the bottom part of the straps and slide them up and over the end of my residual limbs, adjusting the fit and location of the straps as I go. I’m not sure if you can visualize that, and I don’t imagine it would work if I had feet. But it saves me the effort of having to unbuckle and/or adjust the strap tension each time I put them on.”
“I am fortunate to have long residual limbs, and I have found that the shinfinTM fins fit me well. The straps hang on well to my legs without any socks or padding, similar to the picture shown on your website.”
Sensitive cut ends of tibias
“I do find that, depending on what else I’ve been doing recently, the fins can get a bit uncomfortable on the cut ends of my tibias. The idea of wearing a sock for padding seems good, but I don’t have stump socks that are tight enough. So I tried a regular tube-style sport sock, which gave me sufficient padding, but I found that I didn’t get sufficient grip and the fins would eventually pull the socks off. I will continue to experiment with different padding.”
“I suspect that I will just toughen up over time so that I might not need any. However, I’m wondering if it might be possible to attach a strip of something a bit squishy, like a strip of rubber prosthetic liner, to the inside shin contour of the fins? Are you at liberty to tell me what material they are made from, and what, if any, glue might adhere to them?”
“Anyway, I’m loving being back in the water. I’ll probably get another pair as a backup and/or for swimming at the cottage in the summer.”
I’m very pleased that you found immediate success with your shinfin™ fins with your bilateral below knee amputations. And also that they have allowed you to quickly get back to your previous level of regular swimming. Yes, as you say, they really do give you stability, better steering control and overall mobility in the water. I get a lot of great feedback like this.
Have you also found that the fins allow you to pull harder with your arms? This is because there is a diagonal force balance between your kick and your arm pull.
The fins are made from polyurethane so a glue that is suitable for polyurethane is what you need. I have found that glue for repairing neoprene wetsuits can stick well to polyurethane. That might be especially good for you, as neoprene padding might be good to protect the ends of your tibias. I do understand how you are putting on your fins and I’m glad that works well for you. This fitting page should help if you would like to fit them in the usual way.
Do you swim in a pool and also in open water? Can I ask a favour please? Would you mind if I put some extracts from your emails on the website? I like the way you have written. I think it would be useful for other people to read what you have said. Any questions just ask. I am here to help you get the best from your fins.
“First, let me just say that I really appreciate your passion and dedication to making the experience of using shinfinTM fins positive for so many people individually.”
Whole-body exercise, arms too
“I have, indeed, found that kicking with the shinfinTM fins opposite to my arm pulls, allows me to pull harder with my arms. They really help me make swimming even more of a whole-body exercise.”
Kicking with minimal knee-bend
“When I swam after I last wrote, I had an issue with pain at the end of one tibia. This prompted me to adjust the placement of my fins. I had previously been trying to locate the shinfinTM fins as far down my residual limbs as possible. Firstly, because it would be more similar to the placement recommended for people with feet. Secondly because the further down my leg they are, the less likely I am to experience water scooping under the leading edge of the shinfinTM fins and pulling them down or completely off my legs.”
“When I adjusted the placement of the fins a little higher to avoid a serious ouch! on the end of my tibia, I was forced to become even more careful not to bend my knees when I kicked, so that I wouldn’t scoop water and lose my fins. What I thought was going to be a swim-ending equipment problem turned out to be an opportunity to learn what the shinfinTM fins are supposed to teach me(!). After adjusting my fins and adjusting my kick technique, I had a more pain-free and more powerful swim than ever.”
“I’ve been swimming in a pool since my surgery. The ocean and lakes in my area (British Columbia) are way too cold at this time of year (for me). I am very much looking forward to trying open-water swimming in the summer, though.”
“One thing I hadn’t thought much about in my previous years of swimming is pushing off the wall at either end of a pool. Now I can’t do that, as my stumps are (still?) way too sensitive to allow me to push off the wall, I am faced with swimming from essentially a dead stop every length. This was very discouraging at first, but I have been working on techniques to use my shinfinTM fins to do one or more dolphin kicks to get me going off the wall, so that I don’t have to pull with my arms from zero.”
“The challenge I have, particularly on a turn, is that bending my knees to get the kick going opens up those leading edges to scooping water and pulling off my shinfinTM fins. Any advice in this regard would be helpful. Anyway, when the open waters warm up, I’m looking forward to enjoying swimming without stopping dead and starting again every 25 metres.”
Bought a second pair of shinfinTM fins
“You are welcome to quote me on your website. I live in Coquitlam, Bristish Columbia, Canada. I’ll try to get some pictures/videos of how I use my shinfinTM fins for you at some point.”
“I have ordered a second set of shinfinTM fins because my wife said I shouldn’t chance ever being without a pair (and she’s usually right ;-). Also, I’m keen to let some of my friends with feet try them out (and I certainly don’t want to give mine up for that!).”
Thank you for your kind permission and for ordering your second pair of fins. They are already on their way to you. Personal recommendation is very important to help a new product like this along, so I really appreciate it. Photos and/or videos would be very helpful too please, whenever you get a chance. They would help me to understand better too. Can I ask please, how long are your residual limbs below your knee caps?
Yes indeed, I am passionate about shinfinTM fins. It is part of my broader passion about natural human movement theories and products.
You are right, kicking with only a little knee-bend gives a more powerful kick and overall faster swimming. Now that you have experienced that, you could experiment with fitting them a bit lower, whilst maintaining a similar powerful kick and easing the pressure on the ends of your tibias. As you found, having the leading edges of the fins near your kneecaps can cause some scooping of the water when your knees are bent. Although tightening the straps should reduce this.
For turns, have you tried pushing off by pressing both fin fronts against the wall? So you initially push off on your back, and either continue doing backstroke or rotate onto your front for freestyle? Does that work for you?
After single or bilateral below-knee amputations, shinfinTM fins will help you get back to your previous swimming level. You will find they give you similar stability, control and steering as feet. The left fin kick balances your right arm pull and vice versa. So they also enable you to pull harder with your arms for powerful whole-body exercise. You may even become a better swimmer with shinfinTM fins than before your amputations.
These other reviews show below-knee amputees using shinfinTM fins for lap swimming, swim exercise and exercise for weight loss. Another review illustrates wearing the fins on prostheses for pool and ocean swimming. Further reviews demonstrate shinfinTM fins helping with bilateral fused ankles lake and pool swimming and reducing lower limb pain.