Learning to Walk with a Prosthetic Leg - Hanger Clinic …
Many authors have noted that the rejection rates for lower-limb prostheses are the highest at these proximal levels. The energy requirements to use such prostheses has been reported to be as much as 200% of normal ambulation. At the same time, the lack of muscle power at the hip, knee, and ankle/foot results in a fixed, slow cadence. As a practical matter, only those who develop sufficient balance to ambulate with a single cane (or without any external aids at all) are likely to wear such a prosthesis long-term. Those who remain dependent on dual canes or crutches for balance eventually realize that mobility with crutches and the remaining leg, without a prosthesis, is much faster and requires no more energy expenditure than using a prosthesis does.
D.I.Y. Leg prosthesis | Prosthesis | Cambodia
A third type that has proved advantageous for this level of amputation is the polycentric (four-bar) knee. Although slightly heavier than the previous two types, this component offers maximum stance-phase stability. Because the stability is inherent in the multilinkage design, it does not erode as the knee mechanism wears during use. In addition, all polycentric mechanisms tend to "shorten" during swing phase, thus adding slightly to the toe clearance at that time. Many of the endoskeletal designs feature a readily adjustable knee extension stop. This permits significant changes to the biomechanical stability of the prosthesis, even in the definitive limb. Because of the powerful stability, good durability, and realignment capabilities of the endoskeletal polycentric mechanisms, they are particularly well suited for the bilateral amputee. Patients with all levels of amputation, up to and including translumbar (hemicorporectomy), have successfully ambulated with these components.
Some extremely useful accessories have also been designed recently. Perhaps the most interesting is the group of energy storing and absorbing pylons. The intention of these pylons is to decrease the level of force transmitted through the prosthesis at heel strike. These units act like a shock absorber in a car’s suspension. They absorb vertical (up & down) forces and rotational forces. When combined with the appropriate components, these shock absorbers increase walking comfort significantly.