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Julie Rogers: Getting the best from my prosthesis

Single leg amputee sprinter Julie Rogers relies on a specially optimised advanced running prosthesis for her sport, and it’s crucial that she cares for her artificial limb in the correct way to ensure she reaches her maximum performance on the track. In the final instalment of our series of blogs with Julie, she tells us how she gets the very best from her prosthesis.

Julie has both a walking and an advanced running prosthesis, both of which are custom made to suit her. “My walking prosthesis isn’t suitable for sport because of the added pressure running puts on the limb,” Julie tells us. “Both are tailored to me and my competing style, and have been fitted personally to my weight, size and power strength. There are lots of choices like what material is used, the shape and the alignment and to get the best from a prosthetic limb you need to find what’s right for you.”

It’s also important that Julie cares for her prosthesis in the correct way. “I have a care routine I should follow,” she explains. “My prosthesis is waterproof and I have weekly pool sessions, but more generally it’s about keeping it clean.

“Taking care of your skin is another important factor. I’m quite lucky as I don’t have any irritation, but I know lots of people who do. It sounds silly, but I treat the skin on my leg the same as I treat the skin on my face. I keep it clean and moisturised and I make sure anything I put on it is gentle. I really like aloe vera gel, it’s really natural and hydrating.”

Julie also receives support from PACE Rehabilitation Centre, which she can approach if she encounters any issues. “I’m really lucky to have such good support from PACE, they’re here for me if I ever need anything,” Julie says.

Before a competition, it’s crucial that Julie checks her prosthesis in good working order. Typically, she will go for a test run and check that there is no clicking or squeaking. “I don’t carry any spare parts with me when I travel to events, so if something happened to go wrong with my prosthesis I wouldn’t be able to compete,” Julie tells us. “That’s why I have to be so careful, and it’s good to have the peace of mind that it’s covered on my insurance policy with Fish. I’ve broken various parts in the past!

When it comes to transporting it to different events, Julie keeps her prosthesis in a big sports bag, which she says makes carrying it around much easier. “It can be a bit of a pain on trains and things, but generally it sits quite nicely in it,” she says.

And does she have any horror stories? “There was one time I left it in a taxi,” Julie laughs. “Luckily, the taxi driver returned it, but it must have been a bit of a shock!”

Julie Rogers’ prosthesis is insured on a specialist insurance policy with Fish Insurance.

Photograph: Peter Milsom

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