Blatchford Elan IC Foot/Ankle

Blatchford Elan IC Feature Image

The Blatchford Elan IC has all of the attributes of its sister product, the Elan Microprocessor Foot. But its new induction charging technology allows it to be completely sealed from the elements, making it waterproof.

What’s On This Page?

A Quick Look at the Elan IC

The following video provides a quick look at the Elan IC:

However, this next video, which was shot for the Elan Foot, provides a better technical description of their common core features:

The main differences between the two devices are the Elan IC’s induction charging and waterproof features. But it is still their core features, especially the ability for users to achieve a smooth gait over varied terrain, that impresses us the most.

Elan IC’s Key Features

Ankle Range of Motion (ROM)

The reported ankle ROM for the Elan IC is only 9 degrees, which is the lowest of all bionic foot/ankle systems.

However, this is not the total ROM, as the foot’s flexibility is also a factor. Nor is it the full story, as the Elan IC seems to focus more on managing dorsiflexion and plantar flexion resistance than it does on actively managing ankle rotation.

We have been unable to get a response from Blatchford as to why they have adopted this strategy compared to the greater ROM offered by their competitors. Without that input, we recommend that you have an in-depth discussion with your prosthetist about the implications of this design, both positive and negative.

Ankle Accommodation

The Elan IC is the only bionic foot/ankle system to use both within-step and inter-step ankle accommodation strategies.

Within-step systems adjust the angle and resistance of the ankle to match the terrain during the stance phase of each step. Inter-step systems make their adjustments during the swing phase, i.e. between steps.

The disadvantage of using an inter-step strategy alone is that it takes several steps before the system adjusts to changing terrain.

Because the Elan IC already uses a within-step strategy and it already maintains dorsiflexion during the swing phase to improve toe clearance (i.e. it keeps the toes pointed up), we’re not sure why it also uses an inter-step strategy. We have submitted this question to Blatchford but we have not received an answer.

Elan IC’s Sensor and Microprocessor Capabilities

Blatchford does not disclose details of the Elan IC’s sensors and microprocessor(s).

All we know is that the Elan IC uses a “network of sensors” to continuously monitor the user’s position and movement. We suspect that this includes accelerometer and gyroscope data, and have asked Blatchford for clarification but they have not responded.

We normally put significant effort into describing the benefits of a foot/ankle’s microprocessor capabilities but, in this case, Blatchford has created some excellent diagrams of its own (source: https://www.blatchfordus.com/products/elanic/):

Elan Foot Uphill Benefits
Elan Foot Downhill Benefits
Elan Foot Standing Still Benefits
Elan Foot Swing Clearance

Note Blatchford’s emphasis on the level of resistance applied to both dorsiflexion and plantar flexion in these diagrams. The ankle’s angle of rotation is mentioned only for swing clearance.

The broader benefits of the Elan IC’s microprocessor system are:

  • improved shock absorption;
  • improved balance and stability;
  • reduced socket stress;
  • reduced compensatory demands on other joints and the back;
  • better load distribution between two legs;
  • a smoother, more natural gait;
  • faster maximum walking speed;
  • reduced energy requirements;

In other words, not only does it improve the daily lives of users regarding comfort, capabilities, and energy conservation — it also reduces long-term body wear-and-tear.

Electric Propulsion

The Elan IC does not augment push-off with electric power but it does optimize energy storage and reuse through its carbon fiber foot.

The only bionic foot/ankle currently on the market that enhances push-off with electric power is Ottobock’s Empower model.

Battery Life

The Elan IC requires 5.5 hours to fully charge, and that charge lasts roughly 48 hours depending on activity levels.

Most notably, the Elan IC uses induction charging, as shown in this video:

Water Proofing and Dust Resistance

The Elan IC has an IP rating of 67, meaning it is considered both waterproof and dustproof. It can be submerged in water up to a depth of one meter for as long as 30 minutes.

Device Weight

The Elan IC weighs 1.00 kilograms without a footshell, 1.24 kilograms with a footshell.

User Weight Limit

The maximum user weight for the Elan IC is 125 kilograms.

K-Level Rating

The Elan IC is rated for low-to-moderate-impact K3 use. It is not intended for high-impact sports, such as running, basketball, etc.

For a thorough understanding of K-levels, please see the Amputee Coalition’s web page on this topic.

Compatibility With Bionic Knees

The Elan IC is fully compatible with Blatchford’s Orion Knee.

Blatchford does not explicitly list any other microprocessor knees as being compatible with the IC. However, their warranty does not specifically exclude pairing it with a non-Blatchford microprocessor knee. You should therefore ask your prosthetist for clarification.

User Software

We are unable to find end-user software for the Elan IC, though there is a software interface for clinicians to configure the device.

Consequently, it appears that users are unable to create different settings for different shoes or to exert any personal control over ankle stiffness settings. This suggests that the Elan IC can only be configured for one heel height and that users must visit their prosthetist’s office to change this. We have asked Blatchford to verify this point but they have not responded.

Warranty

The Elan IC offers a three-year manufacturer warranty, matching that of the Elan Foot, Ottobock’s Empower Ankle, and Freedom Innovation’s Kinnex models. All other bionic feet/ankles come with a two-year warranty.

Pricing

We have not yet been able to confirm a net price to the end-user for a typical solution involving the Elan IC. We suspect it will be slightly more expensive than the Elan Foot. If you know, please contact us!

To see how the price of the IC compares to its competitors, please see our Bionic Foot Price List.

Considerations Before Buying an Elan IC

We’re going to make basically the same comments here as we do about the Elan Foot. The IC is a quality device that appears to contribute to a very smooth gait. The fact that it is waterproof further broadens its appeal.

At the same time, the IC’s lack of user software and its inability to support user settings for different shoes are drawbacks.

We also wish that Blatchford would be more responsive to our questions, as transparency benefits everyone, especially those with limb-differences trying to make key decisions on a limited budget.

For a comprehensive description of all current lower-limb technologies, devices, and research, see Our Complete Guide to Bionic Legs & Feet.

For a list of competitor devices, see All Bionic Feet.

Click here for more information on Blatchford.