Answers to Questions Frequently Asked About the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg

 

BOUYANCY AND WATER

How buoyant is the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

The shin section of the standard ‘beachcomber’ style does not fill up with water and is buoyant. In this scenario, it simply means that you keep pressure or weight on it so it doesn’t “float” up (great for building your core muscles!). Users tell me that it’s easy to make the adjustment—and well worth it!

The ‘diver’ style has drain holes that allow water to fill the leg and make it neutrally buoyant. If the leg were to be taken off in the water for any reason, it will float.

How much water gets inside the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

The standard WaterGait™ WaterLeg does not have drain holes and therefore, does not fill up with water. However, your stocking(s) and/or suspension sleeve may get wet, depending on a number of factors (type of suspension sleeve, tightness of sleeve fit, etc.). If this happens (which is not damaging in any way), the sock in the liner may become damp or wet, but it will not be uncomfortable to wear nor will it feel “sloshy” when you’re walking in or out of water. Water will not get inside the shin section.

The ‘diver’ model allows the shin section to fill with and empty water rapidly when stepping in and out of the water. A little more than a quart is taken in at any given time when the leg is in water. The ‘diver’ model is more neutrally buoyant but still floats.

I like to swim. Which is best: wearing or not wearing the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

Most people who swim laps for exercise remove their prosthesis and benefit from the reduced ‘drag’ when swimming. For others, the WaterGait WaterLeg is more practical to wear for casual swimming, socializing or playing with children in a pool.

Another option is to have a Rampro SwimAnkle™ incorporated in the WaterGait™ WaterLeg which enables the swimmer to point the toes when swimming.

Can I put a movable ankle on a WaterGaitTM?

We can attach the Rampro ActiveAnkle or SwimAnkle to a WaterGait for those people who wish to ‘point the toes’ for active swimming or scuba activities. These add about a thousand dollars to the cost of the WaterGait and change the cosmetic appearance of the leg significantly.

Is there any water sport for which you don't recommend the WaterGaitTM?

The WaterGait™ WaterLeg is designed to excel at all water sports.

Why do I need to wear “water" shoes?

“Water” shoes, sometimes referred to as swim socks, are a must with the WaterGait™ WaterLeg! Not only do they keep you from being hurt on slippery surfaces, but they reduce the abrasion on the bottom of the foot which helps it to last longer. Not wearing some sort of “water” shoe while wearing the WaterGait WaterLeg will result in rendering the warranty null and void (so wear the shoes!).

Why do I need to wear “water” shoes in the shower?

Plain and simple: the shower is slippery and dangerous, so wear water/swim shoes in the shower. Cleaning the WaterLeg in the shower or tub is a breeze when you’re done. Dry the leg as you dry yourself. Remove the “water” shoe after removing the WaterGait™ WaterLeg (so the foot and shoe can dry properly).

Does it have to be “water" shoes? Can I wear flip-flops, Crocs-style shoes or anything else that's waterproof?

“Water” shoes or swim socks are the best. We don’t recommend flip-flops or Crocs-style shoes, for safety and alignment issues.

DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY

How is a WaterGaitTM different; how is it made?

A WaterGait is unlike your standard prosthesis. WaterGait is a laminated socket, bonded to a hollow hard plastic shell, custom shaped to match your natural leg and covered with Skinergy™ Silicone cosmetic skin or a custom-sprayed nylon skin finish.

How sturdy is a WaterGaitTM?

The WaterGait is currently rated to patients 250 pounds or less.  With proper care, it should last as long as a standard prosthesis.  The skin finish can be re-applied for under $300, should it become damaged or worn.

Is it completely waterproof?

Yes, the WaterGait leg is completely waterproof! Beware of a water-resistant water-leg! These are legs that will eventually rust or become moldy and require more maintenance. The WaterGait only needs to be washed after use.

What kind of foot is used on the WaterGaitTM?

There are only a handful of feet that manufacturers recommend for use in water.  We currently use the Seattle Light Foot and the Energy Foot by Tru-Life. These are energy storing feet that fit inside the Skinergy™ skins and are very cost effective, unlike most other prosthetic feet.

What kind of suspension can be used with a WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

Nearly any suspension method is practical to use for the WaterGait. Shuttle Lock and Passive Suction are the most common. The one method, currently very popular, that we do not recommend is an Active Suction System. These are generally very expensive and bulky and therefore not practical for use on a WaterGait.

Does the WaterGaitTM come in different colors?

The Skinergy™ Silicone Skins we use are available in a full range of life-like tints. They have a realistic depth of color, unlike some monochromatic off the shelf skin finishes. They are quite durable and you get to choose the color that you think matches the best. Custom color matching is available at our facility in the Chicago area, if you want to visit us in person. If you have unique coloring or lots of freckles to match, we can do a very nice job of making a good-looking match to your skin, adding less than a hundred dollars to the cost.

Why is the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg better than other “legs" out there?

Any other leg that claims to be water-resistant is not waterproof and will trap bacteria—which could result in a discolored and smelly leg. Other water legs are laminated, do not look life-like, and cost significantly more money for no additional practicality—and are generally less practical.

Who else makes WaterLegs?

Your practitioner can either have a water leg made using the old fashioned, expensive method. There are a few water-resistant components on the market, but for all practical purposes, you will find that the WaterGait is the most practical and cost-effective solution on the market.

What about the AquaLeg?

The AquaLeg is a $3,000 custom silicone covering, which is intended to go over your primary prosthesis but does not actually waterproof it. You are still limited in your choice of feet that you can use. Additionally, you will still only have one primary prosthesis with no good fitting back-up leg.  So when it needs service, you could be looking at a long period without a good fitting leg. It is an interesting concept, but we feel it has far too many drawbacks to be practical. The WaterGait, which is a customized, waterproof leg—not simply a covering—is designed with affordability, functionality, fit, lifelike appearance, and practicality as its strong points.

How much walking can I do while wearing the WaterGaitTM? 

You can walk with the WaterGait for as long as you need to, although it is not recommended for use in cold environments (45° or colder), or in high-impact activities, such as running, jogging or jumping. Doing so renders the warranty null and void.

I have an expensive athletic foot component on my primary prosthesis. How does the WaterGaitTM foot compare?

We use a Seattle Light Foot with a Delrin™ Keel which does give more spring than a SACH foot, but less spring than the carbon graphite foot. You may feel a difference in the gait, but after walking on it for a few minutes, you should easily adjust.

Can I put my old foot on a WaterGaitTM?

In rare cases, you may be able to do so. In all likelihood, a new foot that we supply will be more practical, but new feet are always coming on the market and improvements are something we continually focus on.

Will it feel differently when I walk with the WaterGaitTM?

The WaterGait should walk similarly to your primary leg, but every foot has different walking characteristics. You may feel a difference in the gait, but after walking on it for a few minutes, you should easily adjust.

Can I use the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg as my primary prosthesis?

Unlike your primary prosthesis, the WaterGait is not rated for high-impact activities such as running, jogging or jumping. It also cannot be worn in extremely cold environments (45° or colder). Doing so renders the warranty null and void.

It can, however, be used as a temporary replacement in those infrequent situations when your primary prosthesis is being worked on. In these cases, it’s still imperative that the WaterGait WaterLeg not be used for high-impact activities or in cold environments.

Is the WaterGaitTM available to Above-Knee amputees?

The WaterGait WaterLeg is not available to above-knee (AK) amputees because more components are required. There are water-resistant components emerging on the market for AK amputees. But a practitioner is the right person to ask about this.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE

How do I clean the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg, my liner and the suspension sleeve?

Treat the WaterGait WaterLeg as if it were your own skin. Wash each component (leg, liner and sleeve) after each use with a small amount of gentle soap, rinse with fresh water and let dry. When exposed to lake, river or ocean water, it is recommended to spray the exposed surfaces with an anti-bacterial solution, which we provide, and then rinse and dry. This significantly reduces the chance of mildew growth.

WaterGait wearers tell me how fantastic it is to be able to simply walk into a shower—especially while at a pool or beach—wearing the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg. To not have to remove a leg, find a dry place to store it while you hobble into and out of the shower, is a desirable benefit—and safety feature—of the WaterGait WaterLeg. Check out the How to Clean Your WaterGait video.

If I shower wearing my WaterGaitTM WaterLeg, how do I clean my residual limb? 

There are several options. If, after you shower, you change into your primary prosthetic leg, have a washcloth and soap handy and clean your limb before putting on your primary leg. Or, you can keep a cleaning wipe or soaped up washcloth and towel near your bed so you can clean your limb when you take your leg off to go to bed. Be creative! The point is, you must clean your residual limb regularly.

Is there any special care I need to know about?

  1. ALWAYS wear a surf sock or water shoe with your WaterGait! Flooring can be both slippery and harshly abrasive. We do not warranty the skin covering if people wear through it by walking barefoot on sidewalks and other abrasive surfaces. Plus, it’s simply smart to wear surf socks when stepping in water where you can’t be certain of what you will be stepping on.
  2. If worn outside, wash with mild soap and anti-bacterial spray we supply to you to avoid moldy and musty smells. Treat it as you would any other outdoor clothing that you value and want to keep looking and smelling good.
  3. Check out our How to Clean Your WaterGait video.

Why do I need to clean the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg, liner and suspension sleeve?

Proper cleaning (see recommended process in previous answer) will not only help these items to look their best for a longer period of time, but proper care will keep them smelling fresh.

What is the best suspension sleeve to pair with the WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

There is no ‘best’ sleeve; there are many to choose from. We help you decide which is best and most cost effective for your needs.

How long will a WaterGaitTM last?

The WaterGait is warranted against any manufacturing defects for 90 days from

receipt of the leg. It is designed to give you years of enjoyment. The skin finish, if cared for and stored properly, will also last for years but can be reconditioned if damaged or discolored.

ORDERING, PAYMENT, FINANCING, WARRANTIES AND OTHER TOPICS

How can I get a WaterGaitTM?

Call us at (888) 534-1787, contact us online through our website (www.WaterGait.com), or email us at info@WaterGait.com to get started. We will work with your practitioner, or with you directly to make a mold of your best fitting prosthesis. We then take this mold and build your custom WaterGait. Generally, no fittings are required as it’s a clone of your current fit and alignment. The process only takes a couple weeks—not months.

Is the WaterGaitTM competitively priced?

Yes! A standard hollow-shelled water leg is generally priced around $5,000. Your practitioner generally can’t afford to make a waterleg for less. They will most likely have you wear an ill-fitting, ugly, old prosthesis until it self destructs.

The WaterGait is priced around $2,000. If you are covered for a waterleg, we will work with your practitioner to supply you with your WaterGait for the least amount possible. If you are not covered then you are a prosthetic consumer and can purchase a WaterGait directly from us for around $2,000.

Is the WaterGaitTM covered by insurance?

Some people are covered for a ‘special-use’ prosthesis under their insurance. In those cases, we recommend purchasing your WaterGait through your practitioner.

Can I order a WaterGait™ through my regular prosthetic practitioner?

Yes, if it is covered by insurance, you should order through your practitioner to take advantage of favorable costs. If it is not covered, we keep the price low, around $2,000—many times lower than a standard prosthesis—so you can take advantage of all that life has to offer.

How long does it take to get a WaterGaitTM?

Generally the process, from start to finish takes about 20 days. You will never be without your primary prosthesis for more than 2 ½ days—and only 30 minutes if you come in to our shop in the Chicago suburb of Hazel Crest, IL, to have the mold made in person while you wait.

Are payment plans available?

Yes. We require a deposit up front to initiate your order, but the balance can be paid in as many as four monthly installments of approximately $300. 

What is the fastest method to get a WaterGaitTM WaterLeg?

The fastest method is to visit our office in the Chicago suburb of Hazel Crest, IL. A quick 30-minute visit and you’re free to leave with your primary prosthesis intact! Your new WaterGait WaterLeg will be shipped to you within twenty days.

Is the WaterGaitTM Guaranteed?

Yes. The WaterGait is warranted against manufacturing defects for 90 days. You can have a full season of fun knowing you are completely covered. Additionally, it is guaranteed to fit as well as the prosthesis we duplicated. If an adjustment is needed, we will make it. Please note that wearing water shoes is required—to not do so negates the warranty.

What if I don't have a back-up prosthesis to use when I send in my primary? Can you speed it up?

We understand how important it is for you to have your primary prosthesis. If you don’t have a back up, pick a few days that you can afford to be without it and talk to us to schedule the mailing process. We send you the mailing box and instructions for express overnight delivery to us. When we receive your prosthesis, we immediately build the mold and send your prosthesis back to you that same day, via express overnight mail. So, if all goes as planned, you should only be without your primary leg for 2 ½ days.

The fastest method is to visit our office in the Chicago suburb of Hazel Crest, IL. A quick 30-minute visit and you’re free to leave with your primary prosthesis intact! Your new WaterGait™WaterLeg will be shipped to you within two weeks.

I've gained/lost weight and my WaterGaitTM no longer fits well. Can you make adjustments to it? What's involved?

If you lose weight, you can add socks at the recommendation of your practitioner. If you gain weight, there is no ‘easy’ way to re-make the leg to fit you better. The most practical way to regain the proper fit is to lose weight. The other option is to order a new WaterGait WaterLeg.

I no longer need my WaterGaitTM WaterLeg. Is there a place I can donate it so that it will help someone else?

There are organizations that you can find that will accept old prosthetic devices.  The socket and shell are not usable on someone else, but the foot and other connectors can be recycled.

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