Jeff has transformed his snorkeling with shinfinTM fins strapped to his variation of osseointegration prosthetic legs for his bilateral below knee amputations. He kicks using his upper leg muscles with a straighter knee. So the fins really help him to get more horizontal on the water. Furthermore, this minimises drag and gives him smoother, more efficient snorkeling.
He loves shinfinTM fins as they are. In addition, he is considering ways of lowering drag and increasing thrust still further. This includes adding flotation to his osseointegration feet, as they are rather heavy and tend to sink. It also involves experimenting with strapping the fins at different heights to counter the drag from the fixed ankles of his osseointegration feet. Customers with fused ankles also optimise the height of the fins on their legs, for the same reason.
Jeff’s review from Denver, USA
“shinfinTM fins have transformed my ability to snorkel. We used them every day on our vacation. What I noticed the most is that they really helped get me horizontal on the water. Love them as is.”
Jeff’s review: Snorkeling with fins strapped to bilateral below knee amputations with osseointegration
“We are having a gas with your shinfinTM fins while in Hawaii. I have bilateral below knee amputations and they transformed my snorkeling. You sold them to me 5 years ago, but we live in the mountains and this is our first beach trip.”
“I would like to post information in the Osseointegration website so they could have a chat too.”
Good to hear from you again Jeff. That would be great if you would like to post information on the Osseointegration website. Thank you for that, much appreciated.
I’m very glad to hear that they have transformed your snorkeling. I’d love to hear more about your experiences with them please. What does it feel like when you are swimming and snorkeling with them? What muscles do you feel they exercise? And what fun and fitness benefits do they give you? That kind of thing and perhaps some photos too if you would like to share them please. This kind of feedback helps me to help other below knee amputees too.
I look forward to hearing from you Jeff. Any questions just ask, I am here to help. Thanks again.
“Just flew back in to town. Had a great time with the shinfinTM fins. We snorkeled every day for a week during our stay in Hawaii.”
“Had read a bit on your website, so understood that I should use my upper leg muscles with a straighter knee and not try to “kick” with the usual swim fin technique. What I noticed the most is that they really helped get me horizontal on the water (my Osseointegration feet were heavy and would often “sink”), which made me much more efficient in the water (though they did not give me a lot of propulsion).”
“I used a combination of mask, snorkel, hand fins and flotation belt with my shinfinTM fins. Attached a couple photos. Note that I used an old “stump sock” to protect my shins. Will be sharing these photos (and my hearty recommendation along with a link to your site) with the Osseointegration Peer Support Group on Facebook (3K members) and sharing with my surgeon and rehabilitation team this week.”
That’s great to hear that you had a great time snorkeling with them every day for your week in Hawaii. Thank you for your photos too. They show clearly how you were fitting them over stump socks on both your below knee prosthetics.
That’s right. They are designed to work best with a more streamlined kick, with power from your upper legs and torso, and less knee bend. It is like a good swimmer’s kick.
And yes, they do help to lift your legs and body higher and more horizontal in the water. So that minimises drag and increases your efficiency, like you found.
I have a suggestion for you. Did you feel that there was some drag from your prosthetic feet reducing your propulsion? Having the fins in the high position shown in your photos would reduce the prosthetic feet drag a bit. However, I think you could reduce the drag further by wearing the fins lower with the tips near to, or even touching, your prosthetic feet. Perhaps you might like to try strapping them lower, maybe around the blue parts of your prosthetic. I think that would reduce drag and hence increase your propulsion.
“Lowering drag and increasing thrust would be a great idea. Not certain that we have the ability to put them on lower, as they are a hassle to get on and off around the feet as is. Currently I take my feet entirely off, strap the fins onto my shins, then bolt the feet back on.”
“Would be fun to fiddle around with them, but with Osseointegration I am only allowed to go in ocean water (pool water and ponds have more dangerous bacteria), and live in Denver (where the nearest ocean is 1200 miles away).”
“Love them as is.”
Would it work for you if you take your feet entirely off, strap the fins onto your feet (perhaps around the blue part), and then bolt your feet back on with the fins already fitted?
“We can try attaching the fins directly to the feet on our next trip (who knows when…). Of note, the fin would be flexed quite a lot (almost 90 degrees) and extend to the toes. See attached photo.”
“Of note, please do not take my earlier comments as criticism, as although they did not give me a lot of propulsion, they totally transformed my experience snorkeling (in a very good way).”
“We might also consider adding some flotation to my legs by cutting down a pool noodle. Think this might help with buoyancy, as it is a challenge to put that much weight that far out on a leg in the water.”
I took your earlier comments as very valid observations. I wonder if you can fit the fin a bit higher on your foot compared to that photo. Perhaps so the fin tip is about half way up the black pad on top of the foot. I think that might give you the best balance of minimising foot drag whilst maximising your kick propulsion. That fin position would actually be very similar to that used by non-amputees with fused ankles.
Extra flotation from a cut-down pool noodle wrapped around the ankle of your foot, as you say, would help to float your heavy foot. What’s more, it might work really well to strap the fin around that extra flotation too.
If you would like to experiment with the extra flotation and fin position and send me some more photos, I’ll continue to do my best to advise you. Your ideas and experiments are also very valuable for other amputees to hear about too. Many thanks Jeff.
“Thanks a bunch for your advice. Unfortunately, I can’t do more experiments at this time. For patients with Osseointegration, swimming in pools is controversial, because of the risk of infection. The metal implant is directly connected to the bone and extends through the skin. Although there are some people with Osseointegration that swim in pools, I have had infections in the past and only swim in the ocean, which is a long way from Denver!”
“I did post photos (same ones I sent you), a description, and a link to your site on the OI Facebook page (3K members), where it has had a lot of interest and response.”
“shinfinTM fins have transformed my ability to snorkel. We used them every day on our vacation.”
It’s a shame that there is a risk of infection in swimming pools for people with osseointegration. Is there perhaps some kind of sealing gel that you can apply to stop any pool water ingress into your leg?
To prepare for your next trip to the far away sea, you could do some things at home if you like. For example, you could experiment with attaching flotation to your prosthetic feet to make them approximately neutrally buoyant in a bath. Remember they will float a bit more in salt water. You could then work out how best to strap the fins over that flotation. Then you would be ready to go for your next trip. Just a thought. I hope this helps.
shinfinTM fins can transform your snorkeling and swimming with below knee amputations and above knee amputations, with or without osseointegration variations. You can strap the fins on your prosthetic leg(s) or directly on your stump(s). They encourage you to kick with a straighter knee, using your torso, buttocks and upper leg muscles. So this helps you to get more horizontal on the water, lowering drag and giving you smoother, more efficient snorkeling and swimming.
For osseointegration and other prosthetics for below and above knee amputations, there are ways lowering drag and increasing thrust still further for snorkeling and swimming. You may consider adding flotation if your prosthetic leg is heavy and tends to sink. You may also like to experiment with strapping the fins at different heights to counter the drag from the fixed ankles of your prosthetic feet. Customers with fused ankles also optimise the height of the fins on their legs, in a similar way.
In these other reviews, shinfinTM fins are strapped to prostheses without osseointegration, for bilateral below knee amputations and for an above knee amputation for snorkeling. This review is from a bilateral below knee amputee who straps shinfinTM fins direct on his stumps for exercise and weight loss. This review is from an above knee amputee who fits the fins either on his prosthesis or directly on his stump, for snorkeling and scuba.