Parasports October 19, 2020
Amputee mountaineer Chitrasen Sahu looks forward to scaling Everest with special prosthetic foot
Double leg amputee mountaineer Chitrasen Sahu has set his sights on scaling Mount Everest. A dream that he hopes to achieve with the help of India’s first indigenous carbon fibre foot for mountain climbing.
One year ago, blade runner and amputee mountaineer Chitrasen Sahu made history as the first double leg amputee from India to successfully scale Mount Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak is not easy. There are sub-zero temperatures, icy winds and slippery slopes to contend with. His success fuelled Chitrasen’s determination to scale Mount Everest . He also realised that his prosthetic leg may not help him battle the challenges of Everest.
“The weight of the prosthetic leg is quite heavy, and this becomes an issue while climbing a steep and rocky mountain”, says Chitrasen.
Lost legs in train accident
Even a little extra weight becomes a barrier when you are climbing. I knew that when it came to scaling Mt Everest, the weight of the prosthetic leg and the mountaineering shoes would be an issue.- Chitrasen Sahu, Amputee mountaineer
During the buzz that followed his Kilimanjaro achievement, Chitrasen happened to come across Dr Dhiren Joshi, an occupational medical physician at Government Spine Institute and Physiotherapy College, Ahmedabad. He shared his concerns with Dr Joshi.
“Chitrasen was facing many issues as his legs were heavy and he had difficulty using the tough mountain terrain. Even walking on uneven terrain was hard as he was afraid of falling”, says Dr Joshi
India’s 1st prosthetic leg for mountain climbing
.His solution? A prosthetic leg made of carbon fibre specially for climbing, the first such designed in India. “We changed the design completely and gave it a different shape”, says Dr Joshi. The blade is thicker than the one used for running”.
Chitrasen says the product is much lighter and tougher. “This will reduce the reduce the weight of the prosthetic leg as well as the additional weight of mountaineering boots”, says Chitrasen.
Dr Joshi and his team are also working on an insulation liner to protect the skin from frostbite. The shoes are less springy, so they don’t the user down.
“This is the first time such a prosthetic leg for mountain climbing has been designed in India”, says Dr Joshi. “The blades used for running that are available in the market are by multinational companies. I spoke to a few companies in the United States that design similar products and their costs are very high”.
Dr Joshi plans to attach crampons (nails) made of titanium to make the leg suitable for climbing on ice. Titanium will also make the leg lighter. The design will be finalised based on Chitrasen’s feedback.
Dr Joshi has given the leg prosthetic leg to Chitrasen for free. “If someone needy comes forward, we are willing to it to them free of cost as well”, he adds.