Driving with a Prosthetic Leg

Is It Possible?

Many people wonder if it’s possible, driving with a prosthetic leg after undergoing an amputation. Limb loss (amputation) affects the ability to control a vehicle. Depending on upper or lower limb amputation, it can affect usage of the steering wheel, controls or pedals, or even your stability in the vehicle. You must be assessed for the level of impact, which will determine the conditions on your license, any vehicle modifications, or additional training with a rehabilitation driving instructor to enable you to drive. Below is some general information to get you started on the journey to get back on the road.

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Can you Drive with a Prosthetic Leg?

Steps to Take:

It is a legal requirement that you notify the transport authority in your state or territory of any change in medical condition or surgery that affects your driving, including an amputation where you find yourself driving with a prosthetic leg.

The driver licensing authority in each state and territory has slight variations in its policies and standards. The standards apply to private, commercial, light, and heavy vehicles and motorbikes and you may need to complete multiple driving tests.

To be able to drive a vehicle you must complete a variation of the following steps based on your state/territory, see these below.

Make an appointment with your doctor/GP

  • They will need to provide a complete medical record.
  • Fill in any forms from your state/territory authority.
  • You may need additional medical reports from specialists.

Complete off-road assessment

  • Including asking you about your driving and medical history, testing your knowledge of the road rules, and assessing visual, sensory, and thinking abilities.

Complete occupational therapy driving assessment

  • Health professionals such as an accredited occupational therapist assess a patient’s medical fitness to drive to advise the driver licensing authorities about how the patient’s health and medical conditions might affect their driving ability.

(AFTD Guidelines have basic standards for each states process).

User Ability & Car Modifications

Depending on the user’s ability, you can drive a car with the original pedals if you have had a lower limb amputation.

  • You will need to learn how to manoeuvre your limb differently and this may also be dependent on the sensation in your limb for feedback.
  • As you can no longer move your ankle joint you will rely on feedback from your residual limb and proprioception (the feeling of where your limb is in space).

Features of your prosthesis are also important:

  • You should speak to your prosthetist about wanting to drive as they may need to consider this in the componentry used for the prescription of your prosthetic limb.
  • Adaptive equipment can also be installed in many vehicles.
  • Hand-operated brake and accelerator, automatic transmission and height-adjustable seats, etc.
  • Modifications enable many drivers with impairments to operate vehicles safely.
  • Power steering makes driving much easier for upper limb amputees.

License Conditions When Driving with a Prosthetic Leg

You may have a license condition that states you must wear your assistive device, only drive a specific vehicle or you can only drive an automatic vehicle.

Please contact your local state or territory for further information, alternatively, you can contact your state’s amputee association for guidance.

With the joint effort of:

Darrel Sparke, President of Amputees NSW.

APC would like to thank Darrel Sparke, for collaboration in writing this resource article.

Content created and adapted from:

Advanced Leg Prosthetic Services

Individuals with lower limb amputation or limb difference, may use a prosthetic leg to mobilise.

Prosthetic legs come in a wide range of designs, depending on individual circumstances, such as amputation level, residual limb length and size, skin integrity, activity level, body weight, wants, needs and many more.

If an individual is missing part of their lower limb or has a lower limb difference, they may benefit from a this prosthetic. Common amputation/limb difference levels include, but are not limited to, below-knee, above-knee, knee disarticulation, ankle disarticulation, partial foot, hip disarticulation and Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD). Pictured to the right is a PFFD socket.

Prosthetic leg by itself

Prosthetic legs are generally made up of a socket, which is custom made to the individual’s residual limb, prosthetic components (such as a prosthetic knee and/or prosthetic foot) and connective components, that join the socket and components together. A mould or plaster cast is taken of the individual’s limb, which is then modified, to achieve this custom socket shape.

free standing prosthetic leg

Osseointegration Surgery

For amputees who have undergone Osseointegration surgery, their prosthetic legs do not incorporate a socket, as their prostheses are “bone anchored”. This means their prosthetic components directly connect to a metal rod which has been surgically inserted into their bone.

This particular prosthesis can be designed to serve multiple purposes, depending on the individual’s wants, needs and abilities. It is common for most people to have an ‘everyday’ prosthetic leg and a ‘waterproof’ prosthetic leg. For those who partake in specific sports or recreational activities, they may also have an additional leg. For example, a running leg with running blade, or a prosthetic leg specifically designed for snow skiing. We are happy to work with you to figure out what type will be best suited to your needs.

Click on the button for more information about Osseointegration.

Prosthetic Leg Wear

It is up to an individual how much or how little they wear their prosthetic leg. However, it is always recommended to remove your prosthetic leg overnight when sleeping. Some users may only use their prosthetic legs for short amounts of time during the day, say for transferring purposes, and may choose to spend the rest of their time in a wheelchair as their main mode of mobility. Others may put their prosthetic leg on in the morning and not take it off until they go to bed at night.

Many users require prosthetic socks to maintain the fit and comfort of their prosthetic leg. Sock use is completely dependent on individual circumstances. Many amputees find their stump volume fluctuates during the day and they must accommodate these fluctuations by adjusting their prosthetic socks to suit. We can provide you with a range of different socks so you can always keep your prosthetic leg fitting well and comfortable.

Prosthetic legs can come in a wide range of colours or designs. Many people choose a fabric or design that they like, which we then incorporate into the final lamination of the socket. Others prefer their prosthetic leg to look as cosmetic as possible, with a colour suited to their skin tone and foam cover shaped to look like their other limb covering their underlying prosthetic components. There are also companies that make 3D printed prosthetic covers that can be fitted to your prosthetic leg.

Click here to find out more about cosmesis for your prosthetic leg.

For more information check out our other resource pages, FAQ’s below or contact the team today through our enquiry form.

Why APC?

The APC Prosthetics Group was founded in May 1998 by four founding members with over 100 years of combined clinical expertise. Our objective has always been to provide the finest possible solution for each customer, including the best possible comfort, function, and lifestyle.

Our ideology guides every prosthetic service we give at APC. We will work directly with you to build an assistive device that is unique to you, whether you are a new amputee, using your prosthesis for sport, farming, caring for your family, or simple transfers.

If you have a remark or a question, please use the form to get in touch with us. You can also locate one of our clinics by clicking here!

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Prosthetic Leg FAQ’s

How do prosthetics work?

There are many different types of prostheses that all work in different ways, depending on their intended purpose. Most lower & upper limb prostheses incorporate a socket, which is customised to suit the individual’s residual limb, that is then connected to prosthetic components, such as a prosthetic foot, knee joint or terminal device.

What are most prosthetic limbs made of?

Prosthetic legs and other limbs are made up of different parts, which in turn are made up of different materials. Prosthetic sockets are commonly made using fibreglass or carbon fibre. Most prosthetic feet are made of carbon fibre. Titanium, aluminium and steel are common materials that connective prosthetic components are also made up of.

What does it feel like to have a prosthetic leg?

We manufacture our prostheses to try and make them as lightweight, tight fitting and comfortable as possible. As prostheses are unique and customised to each individual, each amputee would likely have different sensations and experiences of what using their prosthesis feels like.

How strong are prosthetic legs?

We ensure that your prosthesis is rated to your body weight and select components that are suited to your weight, activity and impact level.

The Difference Between Bionics and Prosthetics

What are Prosthetics? What do you picture when you hear the word, bionics? Maybe the things you’ve seen in movies like Terminator – high tech computers integrated with the body? Sci-fi and movies portray a level of fantastic design that although we hope to aspire to one day in the future, in reality they are a lot more basic, and focused on ADLs (activities of daily living) and functional movement.

Prosthetics and Bionics are interlinked fields of healthcare, which are concerned with restoring missing biological function. You can read more on the difference between bionics and prosthetics, and how they are connected below.

What are Prosthetics?

What are Prosthetics? Prosthetics is the field of healthcare concerned with Prosthetic limbs, also known as prostheses. With regards to the work we do at APC Prosthetics, prostheses are custom made devices which restore some of the function of a missing arm (upper limb) or leg (lower limb).

Fun Fact

In everyday language, many people misuse the word “prosthetic” as a noun when talking about an artificial limb, when the word is actually an adjective in this context. You might hear someone say, “I’m getting a new prosthetic this week”. Instead, they should say, prosthetic leg or prosthetic arm. The correct word to describe the device as a whole is, prosthesis – “I’m getting a new prosthesis this week”.

Prosthetic = adjective/describing word
Prosthetics = field of study/work
Prosthesis = singular prosthetic device
Prostheses = multiple prosthetic devices
Prosthetist = clinician who prescribes and makes your prosthesis

Static devices

Traditionally, prostheses were fixed or static devices. As technology has improved, prosthetic devices can include body-powered mechanical joints that rely upon the manipulation of weight forces and compensatory body movements to activate. For example, a prosthetic user with an above knee amputation might use a mechanical knee, which is activated by movement of their body weight around the knee axis and relies upon the user’s strength and control for safety during walking.

Contact us below to find out more!

Man standing discussing what prosthetics are

Body-powered devices

Similarly, an example of a mechanical solution for a prosthetic user with an upper limb amputation is a body powered hook which is attached to a cable and harness system that requires specific shoulder movements to draw on the cable to open or close the hook. Most prosthetic feet utilise dynamic energy storage and return (DESR) to create a degree of movement, but the introduction of hydraulics can enable a greater range of motion with less input/effort required from the user.

Technological advances within the past 25 years have allowed the field of prosthetics to expand to incorporate bionic solutions.

What are Bionics?

Bionics is the field of healthcare concerned with mechanically replacing or enhancing the natural function of body organs and other body parts. In a prosthetic context, bionic devices are computer or microprocessor-controlled components, which provide additional benefits than the purely mechanical solutions discussed above, such as improved mobility, safety, and function. These benefits are useful for prosthetic users with upper limb and/or lower limb amputations or congenital limb differences.

For prosthetic users with an above knee amputation, microprocessor-controlled knees use state-of-the-art sensor systems to mimic a natural walking pattern and provide an extremely high level of safety and function for the user. These knees have sensors which detect movement at up to 100 times per second and then respond by controlling the resistance in their control mechanisms to provide the appropriate safety or mobility as required at each stage of the walking cycle. Microprocessor knees can be controlled through hydraulic control or smart fluids such as magnetorheological fluid and these control mechanisms change the way the knee reacts in each situation; the sensors act like a ‘brain’ in the knee and control the knee function to keep the user safe. Feet with microprocessor-controlled ankles which operate in a similar way can also be used by both prosthetic users with an above knee (transfemoral) or below knee (transtibial) amputation.

While bionics improve safety and mobility for prosthetic users with above knee amputations, for prosthetic users with upper limb amputations or congenital limb differences there are other functional benefits. Upper limb bionic solutions include myoelectric prostheses, which rely on sensors in the socket to detect electrical signals from muscle activity in the residual limb to control prosthetic components, such as a prosthetic hand. This allows a prosthetic hand to function in a more natural way, without the need for harnesses and compensatory shoulder movements. Such systems can provide an improved level of control over traditional mechanical systems, and there are even systems which can recognise patterns of residual limb muscle activation to allow movements of multiple upper limb joints at a single time. Check out our Instagram to see little Brody learning to use his myoelectric hand.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about this, please speak to your prosthetist.

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What Materials are Commonly used for Prosthetics?

We get many questions about how prosthetic limbs are made. Below, we explain some of the different aspects and types of prosthetic limbs and what materials are used for making prosthetics and what makes up each part.

How Are Prosthetic Limbs Made?

The prostheses (prosthetic limbs) that are delivered to our clients are made up of parts which can be grouped into three broad categories: Prosthetic Socket, Prosthetic Components, and Consumables.

The Prosthetic Socket is the upper part of the prosthesis which fits around your residual limb (AKA stump). This Socket is custom made onsite within the APC prosthetic workshop by our talented technicians. Below the socket are Prosthetic Components which include connective components (made of aluminium, stainless steel or titanium), prosthetic joints (such as prosthetic hips, knees, elbows and wrists), and prosthetic feet or prosthetic hands (also known as a terminal device). These Prosthetic Components are ordered from suppliers to meet each client’s specific requirements. Finally, consumables include items such as liners, knee sleeves, and socks which allow your prosthesis to comfortably hold on to your residual limb. These Consumables, like Prosthetic Components, are ordered specifically for each client, featuring materials such as silicone, TPE, rubber and much more.

Download our resources about how to care for your prosthesis and consumables. Or ask for our limb care guide at your nearest APC clinic.

Prosthetic Sockets

 

Diagnostic Socket Fabrication

The process of having a prosthetic socket made begins with your prosthetist taking a plaster cast of your residual limb. This is then filled with plaster to become a plaster copy of your residual limb (positive plaster cast) which can be used to make a Diagnostic Socket or a ‘check socket’. The primary aim of this clear plastic socket is to optimise the socket fit, refine the alignment, and ensure the prosthesis meets all necessary functional and comfort goals.

A diagnostic socket utilises materials which are suitable for a short-term trial period. These include thermoplastic sheets which are heat blistered and vacuum moulded onto the client’s positive plaster cast. Following this step, the socket is attached to a lamination anchor which provides the connection between the custom-manufactured prosthetic socket and the remaining prosthetic componentry. To ensure safety and security, the anchor is secured to the socket. This can be done in a variety of ways from wrapping it in a fibreglass bandage, laminating carbon fibre or fibreglass over it. Once this is achieved, the diagnostic socket is ready for trial!

Definitive Socket Fabrication

Once the prosthetic socket fit and alignment have been optimised, the diagnostic socket is ‘duplicated’ in an alignment jig creating an identical plaster mould whilst retaining the correct alignment of the connective componentry. Plaster or alginate is used in this step. If the shape of the socket allows it to be removed from the positive mould, the client can continue to wear their check socket whilst an APC manufactures their ‘definitive socket’.

The materials used in making definitive prosthetic limbs can vary. Factors include impact, weight of the user, activities that will be undertaken, method of suspension, socket design etc. Most definitive sockets will be made using at least two separate laminations, although some are made using a single lamination.

Some prosthetic socket designs will incorporate a compressible liner (typically made of a material called pelite), PET-G or a flexible plastic inner depending on what the prosthetist has deemed most suitable for the client. If your socket has one of these features, this is fabricated first on the inner most layer to the plaster cast. If not, the plaster cast will be first sealed with lacquer or similar (to prevent moisture leaving the plaster during the lamination).

      

Next an appropriate combination of materials including carbon fibre, fibreglass, stockinette, perlon and/or nyglass are layered over the cast, sealed under vacuum between PVA bags. Acrylic resin mixed with a hardener and sometimes a coloured pigment is then added. The resin penetrates the material fibres and solidifies the lay-up as the chemicals react, in a process called lamination. The initial lamination is focused on creating a strong, structured framework.

The lamination anchor (or adapter) is attached with bog in a similar process to diagnostic sockets but using the alignment transfer jig. The use of foam and putties allows for improved cosmesis and a smooth transition from the adapter to the socket. The second lamination utilises similar materials to the first, however, its focus instead shifts towards strength and security of the lamination anchor to the socket.

This layer can incorporate further coloured pigments or fabrics to personalise your prosthesis and show off your personality. We can laminate most materials as the final layer in the socket allowing endless cosmetic possibilities. Many clients opt for a specific design to finish their prosthetic sockets ranging from Indigenous Art to sports teams – there is such a variety! Clients are encouraged to bring in fabrics, t-shirts, or designs which they desire on their final socket. Sometimes a third clear layer of resin is needed to ensure a quality cosmetic finish is achieved when customising with images.

 

Interim Socket Fabrication

Your first limb following amputation is known as an interim prosthesis. This is because it is only used for a short time, typically a period of a few months. Why such a short time? Following amputation, your residual limb will shrink and change shape as the muscles waste away (muscle atrophy).

An interim socket is intended to be used during this initial period of rapid muscle atrophy. The time frame to stabilising is different for everyone, as is the shape or how your muscles will change over time.

Interim sockets are made using similar prosthetic materials and methods as diagnostic sockets, for adjustability during the initial post amputation period.  Once residual limb volume has stabilised, a new cast will be taken so that a diagnostic socket and later definitive socket can be manufactured.

For more information, read our resources about the processes involved in being a new amputee, support services and amputee peer support

Specialised Sockets

Exoskeletal socket fabrication

           

For a more cosmetically shaped prosthesis, the socket can be laminated down to the foot or hand and shaped to closely match the shape of your sound side limb, this is known as an Exoskeletal Prosthesis (Exo for short!). This design removes the need for standard tube clamps and pylons (known as a modular or endoskeletal prosthesis). An exo design has a few extra steps involved.

Over the first lamination as above, the APC technician pours a two-part expanding foam around the socket on the transfer jig down to the adapter. Sometimes an aluminium or carbon puck is used, or in upper limb this is where the joint’s attachment site will be attached to the socket. Once the foam is hardened, the technician precisely carves the shape of the limb according to the client’s measurements of their sound side. Exoskeletal prosthetic sockets include two additional laminations to gain strength and finish with a cosmetic appearance.  This style of socket is commonly used for upper limb prostheses, and for waterproof prostheses. Some benefits of this design are that these prostheses are lightweight and have fewer components which might otherwise rust.

Recreational socket fabrication

     

The initiation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has allowed many clients the opportunity to explore a recreational prosthesis such as running blades, rock climbing arms/legs, weight-lifting arms, surfing legs, cycling legs and many more. The custom design and materials used in prosthetics, allow for many recreational prostheses to be achieved.

The final definitive prostheses for recreational limbs reflect the great deal of detailed hours undertaken by both the prosthetist and technician to create custom-manufactured prosthetic sockets. This follows the same steps as everyday and waterproof limbs, using similar materials and processes to laminate the socket.

If this is a part of your goals, or something that may interests you long term, make sure you talk to your prosthetist to include a recreational limb in your funding request. For more information about planning for NDIS and goals click to see our NDIS page.

For more information on materials used for prosthetics please get in contact with the team below.

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Lower Limb Amputation

Leg Amputation

Lower Limb and Leg Amputation is a life changing experience. Our APC Prosthetics team are here to help with every step of this journey. Our philosophy is to work with new amputees to comprehensively assess their needs, establish their requirements and deliver the appropriate solutions.

The first phase of the prosthetic rehabilitation process is what is known as an Interim Prosthesis. This process typically begins approximately 6 weeks after the leg amputation when the wound has sufficiently healed. Following the use of a stump shrinker (a specialised compression sock for amputees) to stabilise the limb, our prosthetic team will then go through the process of making a plaster cast of the residual limb, which is modified for each client to achieve a comfortable socket.

There are many methods of suspending a prosthesis to the limb and the prosthetist will select the most appropriate for the client/patient. The socket is attached with various connective componentry to a prosthetic foot. Like with suspension systems, there are hundreds of feet available, and the prosthetist will prescribe a prosthetic foot that best suits the ability, potential and goals of the patient.

When the interim prosthesis is ready, the client will return for their first prosthetic fitting where our team will assess the socket-fit and determine optimal alignment. It is expected that the residual limb will go through changes in shape and volume for the first months, which means the first prosthesis will undergo regular modification. For more information around lower limb amputation and leg amputation, please fill out the contact form below and one of our amazing team members will get in touch with you.

For more information on Lower Limb Prosthetics please read more here.

 

Young child receiving advice around leg amputation

 

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Prosthetic Knees

Prosthetic knees have had some impressive technological enhancements in previous decades and continue to do so. These improvements have helped enhance the functionality and safety of prosthetic knees. Most notably in these improvements is Microprocessor controlled knees (MPK’s). Other mechanical knees use the integration of hydraulic and pneumatic features which allows the knee units to adapt better to real-life situations and environmental changes which is imperative when walking on slopes, stairs, and uneven ground etc.

Single Axis and Multi-Axis Knees

The primary difference between prosthetic knees is whether they are single or multi-axial, which means they have a single hinge point or at multiple hinge points. Single Axis is the most common prosthetic knee joint. The majority of microprocessor knees as single axis. Multi axial knees (polycentric knees) can shorten the prosthesis when in swing, reducing the risk of tripping and falling. Polycentric knee units can meet the needs of various users from low to high activity. These are also a good option for people with long residual limbs, so the prosthetic knee does not stick our further than the sound side in sitting.

Some of our designs such as our recreational limb was put together for a client that has dreams about hitting the slopes and waves with their prosthesis.

Controlling a Prosthetic Knee

Prosthetic knees use a variety of strategies to control the way the knee behaves. Pneumatic knees use air to adapt their function such as when walking at different walking speeds. Hydraulic knees use fluid to adapt their function. Other varieties can utilise a combination of springs, friction and/or locks to control the function of the knee in a more basic way.

Not all knees use microprocessors and sensors to vary their function. These rely solely on alignment and the user to ensure the knee works correctly at different stages of walking.

Microprocessor Controlled Knees 

prosthetic knee

MPK’s use a computer and input from various sensors to continually change and optimise the knee function. These technological inclusions allow the knee to better adapt to real-life situations and environmental changes, allowing improved safety and function. Additionally, MPK’s have intuitive functions for going up and own stairs and ramps. MPKs can be programmed to specific activities such as cycling and running. Microprocessor knees can be heavier than mechanical knees and require charging. 

MPK’s are a great prosthetic knee for the appropriate person but are not appropriate for all users. Your prosthetist will work closely with you to find the most appropriate prosthetic knee based on your level of amputation, functional capabilities, goals, and activities that you enjoy. 

Along with the enhancements with prosthetic knees, there is now a variety of socket design styles, suspension methods, prosthetic feet. 

 

Advanced Prosthetic Foot & Ankle Services

Prosthetic Foot & Ankle

The human foot-ankle is a very complex functional unit. It provides stability as well as flexibility and utilises muscle to generate energy for efficient and comfortable walking. Through the improvements and advancements in the making of the prosthetic foot made to the design and manufacturing of prosthetic feet. These improvements allow for much more energy efficient and improvements in walking.

Each client is unique and every one of them has different needs and lifestyles as it is vital to choose the most appropriate prosthetic foot to achieve maximum comfort and function. Material used in this prosthetic is lighter and more durable which results in an improved comfort and function. Not only just making prosthetic feet but the customisation of amputee fins for those clients who have a passion for getting into the water and swimming or surfing for example. To find out more about our Lower Limb Prosthetics click here.

prosthetic foot

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Specialty & Recreational Prostheses

Prosthetic running leg in motion

Specially designed prostheses are often required when an amputee wants to perform activities that exceed or differ from day-to-day ambulation (walking) and recreational activities. APC Prosthetics continues to lead the profession in prosthetic innovation. Our team is internationally recognised in specially designed and sporting prostheses in a broad range of activities including athletics, swimming, skiing, cycling, golf, weightlifting and more. Whether you need a prosthetic wet leg or a prosthetic running leg, reach out to your clinician so that they can assist you in organising funding and achieving these goals.

If you are interested in competitive or social sporting activities, we are happy to provide contact details for the respective sports institutes and sporting bodies.

Why do you need a separate device to the everyday prosthesis?

  • Alignment needs of components are often unique to the recreational activity and incompatible with everyday walking or tasks
  • Water, snow, mud, sand and corrosives need to be cleaned and dried before further use (you wouldn’t want to put wet shoes and socks on all day if you had to wear them in the shower!)
  • Joint range of motion and forces etc have different requirements to everyday walking leading to different socket shapes and trim lines

There are many different activities you may be interested in. Below are a few of the most common prescribed devices. If you are interested in multiple sports, make sure you include this in your consultations with your prosthetist as they can prescribe a device that will suit your goals.

Waterproof Prostheses

The most common specialty prosthesis is a prosthetic wet leg, which enables the amputee to use the prosthesis for tasks involving water and activities in wet environments. Recent development of waterproof fibreglass feet have provided great advances in water-based recreational activity and swimming prosthetic legs. When it comes to swimming, prosthetics can be specially designed to allow for the use of flippers.

Why is a waterproof prosthetic device important?

  • People with limb difference and amputees have reduced lever arms for propulsion when swimming – either kicking (lower limb amputees) or paddling (upper limb amputees).
  • Stability and safety in wet, slippery environments is paramount when balance is affected.
  • Doesn’t only help with recreation but with safety and independence in showering, which has been shown to have great benefits with mental health and quality of life.

What activities may need a waterproof prosthesis?

  • Self-care Activities of daily living (ADLs) e.g. showering
  • Swimming (fresh, salt and chlorine)
  • Accessing the beach
  • Fishing
  • Boating

Prosthetic Running Leg

When it comes to running with a prosthetic leg, propulsion and energy generation is lost or altered with amputation or limb difference. Asymmetry and imbalance can affect the quality of a runner with either upper or lower limb affected. The development of “hybrid” prosthetic components has expanded greatly, in particular the numerous designs of prosthetic feet which allows the amputee to access a wide range of recreational activities without compromising general walking. Great examples for prosthetic running legs are carbon fibre feet such as the Cheetah Xplore (a blade prosthetic running leg).

Child running with a prosthetic leg

Cycling

Riding bikes for amputees with either upper limb or lower limb amputations and limb difference can be difficult without the use of a specialty prosthesis or a specific attachment. Holding the handlebars, power generation, range of motion are all things that can affect the prescription.

Recreational prostheses can allow amputees to get back to sporting activities such as, riding a bike with a prosthetic leg or arm with family, friends, at the gym or competitively.

Riding a bike with a prosthesis

Golf

High torsion forces (twisting) that occur during golf can lead a user who participates regularly to require a recreational prosthesis for golf. Different suspension methods may be required to the everyday prosthesis to help reduce socket forces, sometimes with additional torsion components such as the Pro-Flex XC Torsion (prosthetic foot) can help with success and comfort when playing golf with a prosthetic leg etc.

Snowsports

Crouch positions, wet environments and high impact forces found in snow sports mean that a regular participant may require a sport-specific prosthetic device. Ossur’s mobility clinic on the snow is a great day to get exposure to snow sports as an amputee, where you can try different methods of participation.

Snow-sports with prosthesis

Task Specific Prosthesis

A prosthesis used for a specific task/sport/activity– e.g. A weightlifting arm, drawing attachment, can be vital for a functional life and participation especially with upper limb prosthetics. Different terminal devices can be prescribed to allow the user to change between activities with different needs whilst wearing the same socket. Sometimes an entire task-specific device is required such as a motocross arm, or this example of a walking stick integrated into the prosthesis to aid with mobility.

 

If you have any questions about specially designed prostheses, please contact us now or fill out the form below!

 

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Osseointegration

Osseointegration is the structural connection between living bone and a load- carrying metal implant. First introduced into dentistry in the 1960s, Osseointegration has been an option for some lower and upper limb amputees since the 1990’s in Europe. The prosthetic components are attached directly to the implant via a connector, eliminating the use of a traditional socket. Whilst there may be numerous functional benefits to Osseointegration, there are also a variety of advantages and disadvantages to explore when considering if this option is right for you.

APC Prosthetics has been actively involved in the establishment of amputee services for Osseointegration users since its introduction to Sydney in 2010 and we have been managing over 500 amputees who have undergone the procedure. If you would like to find out more about this, please ask to speak to one of our prosthetists.

Advanced Lower Limb Prosthetic Services

Our Lower Limb Prosthetics (Prosthetic Leg & Prosthetic Foot) are custom designed and made for each amputee. Over the past couple of decades significant advancements have been made in terms of prosthetic components and socket design. The use of lighter and more durable materials has resulted in improved comfort and function. The socket design and the components determine the level of comfort and function we can expect from a prosthesis. We will briefly overview the components of  the lower limb prosthetics.

Socket and Interface

The purpose of the prosthetic socket is to transmit forces from the residual limb to the prosthesis. A well-designed socket which is regularly reviewed or replaced as you change in shape will provide comfort and stability during walking and standing on a prosthesis. Your socket generally will be made of a combination of plastics, resin, fibre glass and carbon fibre to create a lightweight, durable prosthesis.

The interface/liner is intended to absorb shock and shear forces on the residual limb. It fits between your residual limb and the socket and can be made from various soft materials. Modern interfaces are generally constructed from silicon and urethane polymers, which help protect the tissue. They can also assist with suspension of the prosthesis by incorporating a pin that connects to a locking mechanism in the socket, or a seal which provides a negative pressure system.

Foot and Ankle

The human foot-ankle is a very complex functional unit. It provides stability as well as flexibility, absorbs forces and utilises muscle to generate energy for efficient and comfortable walking.

Over the past decades we have witnessed major improvements in design and manufacturing of prosthetic feet, allowing much more energy efficient and natural walking.  As each patient has different needs and lifestyles, it is vital to select the most appropriate prosthetic foot to achieve maximum comfort and function.

Knee Joints

Knee mechanisms for trans-femoral (above-knee) amputees have also seen major technological advancement in the last decade, greatly improving safety and function. Microprocessor controlled knee units have led these advances.

Incorporation of hydraulic and pneumatic mechanisms allows modern knee units to adapt to variable cadence and assists walking on slopes and stairs. New design concepts for multi-axial knee units have seen increased stability without the accompanying instability downside of higher energy expenditure. Your prosthetist will work closely with you to find a prosthetic knee prescription that works best for your lifestyle and goals.

There are many different socket design styles, suspension methods, prosthetic feet and knee units, which your prosthetist will work closely with you to prescribe the most suited based on your level of amputation, functional capabilities, goals, daily activities and lifestyle.

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