Lower Extremity Prosthetics

The higher the level of amputation the more difficult the process becomes.Many below knee amputees get around so well most people wouldn't know unless they are told. This is not to say that every BK, symes or Partial Foot amputee doesn't have any complications, but at these levels the transition is usually easier with only one major joint missing.

As we progress above the knee the transition becomes harder. Now we are missing two major joints. Some do extremely well even at this level but the loss of the knee for some presents a real sense of fear. We not only have lost physical control of our knee, but now have a mechanical device to master. The length of the femur, as mentioned before, will have a great impact on how well you will do.

At the most extreme are the hip-disarticulation and hemi-pelvectomy levels of amputation. Now we are missing three major joints. Most amputees at this level find it too difficult. At these levels its even more important to try and find a prosthetist with a lot of experience if you are to succeed. Too often these devices wind up in the closet because of poor fit, poor alignment, too heavy, or still using a hard bucket type socket system. Before adding positional rotators, shock absorbers, and all the gadgets one should consider being able to use the prosthesis first. All too often I've seen way too many gadgets to give the amputee more function when in reality have added so much weight have become non-functional.

In the case of Bi-lateral amputations the process becomes much harder for the amputee, but not impossible. It will depend on many factors such as overall health, the will to want to walk again, the quality and length of the residual limbs, and the skill of the Prosthetist.
At every level of amputation I have found the amputee wants the prostheses to be as light as possible. The use of soft flexible sockets can be utilized at every level. With careful planning and good communication most amputees should be both comfortable and functional.

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