Challenges

The daily use of the blade is dotted with various challenges in the process, from cutting to running.


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1. costs a lot of money

Parts of a prosthetic leg for running, such as blades, are not covered by insurance, so the basic cost is actual money. For example, when a person with a thigh prosthesis wants to run, even if they use a socket for everyday use, the total cost of a knee joint and blade for sprinting will be around 600,000-1,000,000 yen. If you are an athlete, you will pay as much as you can to run fast, but if you just want to run in your daily life, it is hard to buy something that expensive.

2. few experienced health professionals

It is estimated that there are around 60,000 lower limb amputees in Japan today, but less than 1% of them use a running prosthesis on a daily basis. As a result, the number of orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists and prosthetists with knowledge of running prostheses is also low.

3. the risks involved in replacing a prosthesis by yourself

It is not that difficult to change a prosthesis for running from a daily use prosthesis, as long as the socket that connects the break to the prosthesis is designed for running. However, the risk of dislodging or breaking the prosthesis during exercise makes it difficult for prosthetists to encourage patients to change their prosthesis.

4. do not know how to train

Using a prosthetic leg for running can be difficult at first because it is somewhat different from running for a normal person. Especially if you have a thigh prosthesis, hip prosthesis or double leg prosthesis, you need to practise how to use your prosthesis differently from normal running exercises and there are only a limited number of people who can coach you.

5. lack of understanding from the people around me

Running with a prosthesis also creates a risk of falling. There is also a risk of injury if the prosthesis is stiff and bumps into other people. However, if the person wants to run, they need a supportive environment, but too often the risks are overestimated and the challenge for the prosthetic leg user is lost.

 

These include

Approach

   Research & Development

  • Development of inexpensive prosthetic leg parts, including blades

The high cost of prosthetic parts such as blades is said to be the biggest barrier. We are developing the inexpensive technology needed to start running. We are also developing custom parts to fit into sockets where running parts cannot normally be fitted, so that more and more prosthetic leg users can enjoy running.

  • Tracking of physical and psychological changes caused by running with the blade

At this stage, prostheses for running are not currently covered by insurance and are therefore not readily available to prosthesis users. We will conduct a follow-up study of the physical and psychological changes that occur when prosthesis users run with the blade, in order to build scientific evidence on whether or not running with the blade contributes to the well-being of the individual and society as a whole.

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  Building individual response models

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When a prosthetic leg user wants to run, the reason for the amputation, the location of the amputation and the remaining functions are all very different and need to be treated individually. We support this process by working with the medical professionals who work with the prosthetic leg user until they are able to run. The process works as follows

  • Checking disconnection and socket information 
  • Preparation of the necessary parts
  • Fittings    
  • Training in the replacement of artificial legs    
  • Running practice

By dealing with users with a wide range of symptoms, we are able to pass on our accumulated process know-how to other users.

 Community building

We are working to build a community that encompasses a wide range of stakeholders, including users, their families, healthcare professionals, communities and government.

  • Online event " xXiborg "
    Online event, xXiborg Every time we invite a guest from home or abroad with Xiborg connections to discuss a topic related to running with the blade. Each time we invite a guest from home or abroad to discuss a project that will be active in the future but not in other media.

  • Running event
    invites prosthetic leg users to a clinic to learn how to replace the blade and how to run. So far, in cooperation with the Shizuoka Prefecture Sports Association for the DisabledShizuoka Blade Running Clinic in cooperation with the Shizuoka Disabled Sports Association.

  • NPO Gisoku's Library
    As the world's lowest threshold for running with blades, we own many blades and allow you to choose the one you like and try it on the spot. 2018 we became a NPO and Xiborg is part of the management. In 2018 it became a non-profit organisation and Xiborg is part of the management.
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 Educational tools

For patients and their families
Develop an online learning resource for prosthetic leg replacement techniques and running training.

For healthcare professionals
We will aggregate and provide information from the cases of runners who have started running through this project, from various symptoms to running.

For the general public
We are also working to raise awareness among the general public with educational tools using prosthetic legs for experience. In addition to the physical difficulties of running with a prosthesis, we will also discuss the psychological difficulties based on the real experiences of the children we have supported.

For overseas
In order to expand these activities globally, we are working to make our educational tools multilingual, aiming to create a society where prosthetic leg users around the world can enjoy running as a matter of course. So far, we have expanded our activities in the USA, Laos, India and other countries.

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The Blade Runners

H.S

One femoral prosthesis (disarticulated knee)
Congenital tibial defect

The blade has been used routinely since the foundation of the Gisok library. The lower part of the socket has a female pyramid for children, which needs to be replaced once all the screws are loosened in order to fix the male pyramid for adults. He is now training for the track team at junior high school. He is currently training for the track and field team at his secondary school.

S.T

One femoral prosthesis
Osteosarcoma

The socket for daily use is used as it is, and the prosthesis for daily use and sprinting is replaced by the patient's own prosthesis for athletic events and physical education. Due to the short distance between the disconnection and the ground (27 cm), a normal knee joint combined with a blade will not fit. Therefore, we cut off part of the blade and made a custom-made connector to accommodate this.

M.Y

Due to the amputation of one Lisfranc
congenital

ankle joint remaining, I had almost no distance to the ground. For this reason, I thought I would never be able to run with a blade. After attending a blade running clinic in Shizuoka Prefecture, the prosthetist in charge of my case made a new socket and attached the blade to the back of the socket. By changing the whole socket, the patient uses it on a daily basis for sports events and physical education.

D.S

Ankle Disarticulation
Congenital Fibula Defect

He contacted us after seeing a TV programme and expressed his desire to run. As the calcaneus was still present, the break was too long to allow the blade to be connected directly to the end of the socket. A custom connector was made for this purpose and the blade could be attached. I had to unscrew and tighten the screws to fit it, but I learnt how to fit it myself and have just started using it in school.

 

M.T

Ankle Disarticulation
Congenital Peroneal Defect

He found the Gythok library on the internet. She came to run once a month at the clinic, but she wanted to run at school and other places, so she learned how to replace the blade and started to run daily in 2021. Although the break is longer, she can run by simply replacing the children's blade with a prosthesis for everyday use.

 

Social impact

As a legacy for 20201 and beyond

It is well known that disabled people are less likely to take part in sport than able-bodied people. This is because many amputees have given up due to their disability, which can be a barrier to playing sport. This project aims to achieve well-being for amputees and the surrounding environment through sport. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to improve the health and well-being of all people, regardless of disability. In addition, sporting activities help prosthetic users to develop and participate in social activities, eradicate inequalities, promote peace and structure, and expand partnerships.

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Effects of coronaviruses

These days, coronavirus infection restricts people's mobility and physical connections. Running, which is done outdoors by oneself, is the sport with the lowest risk of infection. However, prosthetic leg users cannot even run without the physical support of a specialist. This project aims to create a framework to support amputees, who are currently unable to run without the support of others, to start running on their own, in the safest possible environment and online. We believe that this framework can be developed not only in Japan, but also abroad, especially in developing countries where there is less support than in Japan. Although the coronavirus has limited our mobility and physical connections, we believe that online we can create strong links with the rest of the world.

 

D2C ( Direct to Consumer) model

AT THE MOMENT, PROSTHETICS ARE MAINLY PURCHASED THROUGH PROSTHETISTS. WE WANT TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO BUY PROSTHETIC PARTS JUST LIKE THEY BUY THEIR FAVOURITE SHOES ONLINE. OF COURSE SAFETY MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT THE D2C MODEL OF THE BLADE IS NECESSARY TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE PEOPLE CAN RUN WHEN THEY WANT TO. THIS IS A VERY NEW AND CHALLENGING CHALLENGE FOR THE INDUSTRY.

FAQ

Q. What is Blade for All?

A. This project aims to create a society where prosthetic leg users can enjoy running on a daily basis. Xiborg Inc. will take the lead in the grand design of the process of running, in cooperation with many para-athletes, prosthetic manufacturers and local sports organizations.

Q. IS IT POSSIBLE TO RUN WITH AN EVERYDAY PROSTHESIS?

A. YOU CAN RUN, BUT WITH AN EVERYDAY PROSTHESIS YOU DON'T GET THE SAME BOUNCING SENSATION AS WITH BLADED RUNNING. IT IS SAID TO BE SIMILAR TO THE SENSATION OF RUNNING WITH SKI BOOTS. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU TRY RUNNING AT LEAST ONCE, PREFERABLY AT AN EARLY STAGE, AS RUNNING WITH A BLADE ALLOWS YOU TO FEEL THE TRUE JOY AND PLEASURE OF RUNNING.

Q. I HAVE A PROSTHETIC LEG, CAN I STILL RUN WITH THE BLADE?

A. Depending on the part to be cut, the remaining function, the type of socket used, etc., the parts and blades that can be used may differ and may need to be individually adapted. Please feel free to contact us for further information .

Q. ISN'T IT DIFFICULT TO RUN AFTER ALL BECAUSE IT COSTS SO MUCH MONEY TO RUN?

A. Blades and prosthetic leg parts are very expensive and are not covered by insurance, so you have to pay for them yourself. So if you would like to try it out first, please come to our library in Gisok where you can rent blades and other equipment. We hold monthly clinics for beginners like the one in the video below.
We may also be able to offer long-term rentals if you are willing to run on a daily basis and help us with our follow-up research. Please feel free to contact us for more information .
In the long term we aim to develop inexpensive parts, manuals, subsidies and insurance schemes to make it easier for people to run.