In 2019, adaptive climber Chitrasen Sahu made headlines for being the first bilateral lower-limb amputee from India to successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Sahu is currently preparing for another adventure: to scale Mount Everest with India’s first indigenous carbon fiber foot specifically for mountain climbing.
Climbing Africa’s highest mountain wasn’t easy. Sahu dealt with slippery slopes and bitterly cold winds. While his success fueled his determination to conquer Everest, Sahu knows that his current prosthetic leg may hinder him from achieving his goal. According to Sahu, his prosthetic leg is heavy, and he’s worried that this may become an issue while climbing a steep and craggy peak.
Sahu came across Dr. Dhiren Joshi, an occupational medicine physician at the Government Spine Institute and Physiotherapy College at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in India. Sahu shared his anxieties with Dr. Joshi, including his worry of falling while climbing.
Based on Sahu’s concerns, Dr. Joshi designed a carbon-fiber prosthetic leg specifically for mountain climbing. He changed the design of the usual mountain climbing prosthetic leg, giving it a different shape. The blade is also thicker than the one used for running.
Sahu says that the new prosthetic leg, which is the first of its kind designed in India, feels tougher and lighter.
Dr. Joshi and his team are working on a prosthetic insulation liner to shield the skin from frostbite. He also plans to attach titanium crampons to make the leg fitting for climbing on ice. The titanium material will also make the prosthetic limb lighter. The final design will be based on Sahu’s feedback.Blades on the market are usually produced by multinational companies and are generally expensive. Dr. Joshi has given the prosthetic limbs to Sahu for free.