The child amputee has a completely different set of needs and wants to an adult amputee. Similarly the function a child requires from their prosthesis differs vastly from an adult. The activity level of a child is usually far greater than that of an adult and being an amputee certainly does not change this. This needs to be taken into account regarding prosthetics components, which need to be durable and in many cases provide energy return.
There is a completely different set of components for children that are light weight and obviously much smaller. As a child grows they can progress onto the smallest adult components where thereare even more options available.
Recreational prostheses are often very important for children as they allow them to participate in different sports and activities with their friends and family. Examples may include a waterproof leg to go surfing and swimming, a leg specially designed to play soccer, or an arm that can be used to ride a bike.
The growth pattern of children requires more frequent prosthetic adjustments and replacement of both the prosthetic sockets and components. As a child grows the height of their prosthesis needs to be constantly adjusted to accommodate for the lengthening in their sound limb. Similarly as the size of their residual limb grows with the rest of their body, the prosthetic socket no longer fits and needs replacing.
At a recent world congress and trade show in Leipzig, Germany, Otto Bock released a new range of myo-electric prosthetics specially designed for children with upper limb amputations. Technological advances have made these components lighter, more powerful, splash proof and provide quicker reaction times than those previously available. Batteries have been made considerably smaller, lighter yet longer lasting.