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Swimming in a straight line!

With a strong right arm and hand and a left leg with a knee I needed to create balance to avoid swimming in circles so I bought a large pair of rubber fins and modified the left one so I could fit it over my stump.

Firstly I needed a size of fin that my short stump below the left knee would actually fit into snuggly.

If it was too loose it would chaff the skin; too tight and I would not get into it far enough to gain real purchase against the water and it would probably come off. It is well worthwhile spending time on getting the right fit.

I then drilled and bolted a heavy duty belt to the heel of the fin, measured it to fit over my leg just above my knee and cut to size.

To stop it revolving and to hold it in the correct position I used another two strips of leather bolted to the main belt and to the toe of the fin.

I used leather parts because they last and water doesn`t seem to affect the material.

It does stretch in the water after a few minutes so have extra holes for the buckle to be tightened.

I always put a stump sock on to avoid chaffing the skin particularly if you swim for more than 20 minutes or so.

I mentioned using a rubber fin as most fins sold are made of hard plastic and I found these unuseable.

If you have difficulty finding rubber fins I found an online source who were most helpful, particularly as I tried and returned 3 pairs - Swimshop

An update: I have recently built a new slightly larger blue flipper on the same design as above and to get more propulsion. I needed to as my 9 year old grandson can now keep up!

However the extra water pressure does tend to add soreness to the stump if swimming for long periods.

As a result I have, with after hours help from the Prosthetic and Amputee Rehabilitation Centre at Stanmore, begun to develop a completely new way of securing the even bigger green flipper.

Rolling on to my stump a silicone sock with a metal stem, I have fixed a moulded insert (like a socket) into the flipper complete with a connector and simply push the metal stem into the socket and it clicks together securely. I then buckle up the leather strap.

This method eliminates the need for putting on stump socks as the silicone sock does not rub and the mechanical connection is so much more secure. Still experimenting but it does have distinct advantages.

Please see my video - swimming at The Grove with the original design -