leg prosthetics
leg prosthetics

Individuals who experience an above the knee or below the knee amputation often believe that life as they once knew it is over and they will never be the same again. Thanks to the many prosthetists and orthotists who manufacture, fit and developed prostheses this fear is often very far from reality. In fact, individuals who suffer from an amputation are able to accomplish whatever task they set their mind to. For instance, young men and women who have been struck by cancer or trauma and had a limb removed are able to go on and compete in the Paralympics posting very respectable times in comparison to those who have not lost a limb.

Because of the variety of motion required by individuals, depending upon their desired performance following an amputation, manufacturers have developed several different methods and styles of prosthetics. For instance, there is a different prosthetic available for a young woman who wishes to wear high heels versus a young woman or man who wishes to compete in the 200 m dash. This size, shape and exterior of the prosthetic will be vastly different. In fact, the prosthetic used for competition may not even resemble a foot.

Once the surgery is completed and the individual is fitted for a prosthetic there should be minimal pain. Individuals will experience discomforts, swelling, potential sores over the area where the prosthetic rubs, but there should be no real pain.

It is important for the amputee to search for an orthotist who is interested in and dedicated to properly fitting a prosthesis. These leg prostheses are an integral part of an individual's life from the day of his operation until the day he dies. For this reason they should fit well, fit his lifestyle and meet his needs.

Some individuals are able to have two different prosthetics developed in order to meet their specific needs. For instance, as discussed above, the woman who wears nylons and heels to work will also want an asthetic prosthetic to use during work and a second for athletic activities. This is because the second prosthetic will be able to endure more stress and will function better, causing less discomfort, than one used for daily work.

There is a difference between a prosthetic and a bionic limb. A prosthetic limb will move easily but only at the command and motion of the individual's body. A bionic limb will be capable of curling the toes to grip the floor during a walking motion which will increase stability of the individual wearing it.

Otto Bock, the world leader in manufacturing of prosthetic components, has developed a C-leg which is a computer-controlled swing phase prosthetic knee. This technology allows the prosthetic to adapt to the patient's gait as well as accounting for the variety and terrain. With their microprocessor individuals are able to move more freely in everyday situations, speeding up or slowing down, climbing stairs or walking on uneven ground without fear that they will fall or the leg will buckle under them.

The C-leg microprocessor will provide resistance until it senses that the individual is biomechanically safe. This is very useful when walking down the ramps, stepping off of curbs or going down steps. This technology also has a feature which helps an individual to prevent falls when stumbling. For instance, if walking and the individual must stop suddenly because of an object in their path, the knee is most often suddenly partially bent. The microprocessor will immediately prevent the need from buckling completely allowing the patient to recover with their sound leg.

There are four different sections to a prosthetic leg. The first is the liner and sockets. The liner is usually silicone and made of a soft stretchy material that is an interface between the hard weight bearing sockets and the skin. The socket is a hard material may to fit the stump of the amputated leg. It can be made out of a variety of materials.

The knee is a hard socket or joint. The better the design of the knee joint the more fluid and natural motion of walking will be. Below this is an aluminum or carbon fiber to to which a prosthetic foot is connected. The design of the socket depends upon the use of the prosthesis. There are components and adapters in between the main parts of the leg which are smaller can serve key functions in acquiring the proper alignment for the individual to use during walking or running.

Interestingly some athletes who have lost a limb find it difficult to find opponents because of reverse prejudice. A mixed martial arts expert, Ernie Paulson, who lost his left leg below the knee to cancer, has difficulty finding opponents because "guys don't want to fight me because they don't want to lose to a guy with a prosthetic leg." (1)

The research and technology that goes into the development of protheses today allow athletes and business people to perform all of the activities they desire - their limitation are only placed on them by their fear or by others.


(1) US Combat Sports: Ernie Paulson, MMA Warrior

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above the knee amputation

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Below the Knee Amputation

diabetes amputation

Foot Amputation

Foot Prosthetic


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hand prosthetics

leg prosthetics

phantom pain


rehabilitation after amputation

rehabilitation after prosthesis


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This site is a common sense guide to leg prosthetics. In practical advice websites, like anything else in life, there are no guarantees of income made. Readers are cautioned to reply on their own judgment about their individual circumstances to act accordingly.

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