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Jaipur Foot, behind the scenes

September 10, 2011

The lovely gents working at the Jaipur Foot division in the Ahmedabad civil hospital.

One part of the paperwork filled out before the Jaipur leg is fitted.

Playing with all the fun prosthetics at the Ahmedabad civil hospital- comparing knee joints.

A very cool finger prosthesis that bends when you bend your stump, or in this case, finger.

Ishwar Sharma, Paralympic 200m runner fitted with the Jaipur Arm demonstrating how he can pick up heavy items. He had come to Jaipur to train, avoiding the rain back home, but unfortunately it started raining in Jaipur when he arrived.

The manufacturing process of the foot. Each craftsperson makes 5 to 6 feet per day. They work a 6 day week and the majority of them are amputees or affected by polio themselves. Various rubber and wooden pieces are used to construct the foot before it is put into a die that gives it the realistic appearance. We’ll be working to regulate the foot sizing, see if we can make it more realistic and improve it in any other way.

Some wear and tear after 2-6 years. The prosthesis is only meant to last for 3 years, then the patient is meant to come back for a re-fitting. This is necessary because the body and stump changes and the old prosthesis would be doing more harm than good. We would like to redesign the toes to last longer, but the doctors point out that it’s a kind of design for obsolescence, making sure the patients come back for a new leg when their toes break. But there were patients with 6 and 7 year old legs (in great condition for their age, they really take care of their prosthesis), so maybe a new incentive to return is needed!

Taking the plastic pipe straight out of the oven and massaging it onto the plaster of paris mold of the patients limb. The result is the lower half of the leg, shown on the right. The Jaipur foot is attached to the bottom. A full leg like this costs only $US40 and is of course provided to the patients at BMVSS for free.

BMVSS also make tricycles for those they can’t help with a prosthesis. They make most of it themselves; they weld the frame then spray it a distinctive yellow, they assemble the wheels, steering handle and then the entire bike. They’re very easy to spot around Jaipur! These photos were taken around midday, so just imagine how many more they put together in one working day.

All photo credit to Hannelore.

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