Prosthetics for Legs: Everything You Need to Know About
You might have lost a leg or part of a leg due to disease or trauma or any other reason. Those days are long gone when such lost meant you’re not a part of the normal world anymore.
An artificial leg can help greatly with the process of rehabilitation, restoring mobility and freedom to function. People with artificial legs have gone on to adopt quite a normal lifestyle and have achieved many a feat in the areas of sport and adventure.
Given today’s technological advances there is a wide variety of leg prosthesis to choose from. The one you decide upon depends on various factors, such as the site of amputation- below the knee or above the knee, lifestyle, level of activity, goals. Indeed, people have gone on to accomplish a great degree of functionality and independence after rehabilitation and some have performed astonishing feats in the field of Sport even after amputations.
Parts of a leg prosthesis
Most leg prostheses have similar parts. These are as follows:
A Socket: This is the part of the prosthesis into which the stump of the leg fits. The socket has to be very comfortable and must fit exactly as an ill fit can cause much discomfort and pain.The suspension: This part fixes the socket of the prosthesis with the stump.The shaft: This component mimics the bone and is straight and long. It is made from some strong lightweight material such as Titanium or Aluminum as it has to bear the weight of the body yet not become cumbersome itself. The foot and ankle: In the case of Above the knee amputations, the knee is part of the prosthesis too. Some kind of cover: For cosmetic appearance, though in the case of legs sometimes it's done away with altogether as the trouser covers the prosthetic leg.
Types of leg Prosthetics
Modern science has made huge advancements into the field of Leg Prosthetics. Whereas initially, the materials used to be wood and iron with very little mobility, there is now a huge selection of materials and designs to choose from.
The construction of the prosthetic part is done keeping in mind the job that it has to do. The shaft of the leg prosthetic is usually made with a strong and lightweight material such as carbon fiber, aluminum or titanium. It is covered with plastic or foam padding in order for it to be comfortable.
The socket is engineered precisely according to the dimensions and fit of the residual leg. If it is not a perfect fit it can damage the living tissue and cause inflammation and pain. New technology uses laser and 3-D printing to produce an exact fit.
The suspension system is sometimes part of the socket. It should be snug and secure in order to comfortably adhere to the stump. It might be an old-fashioned harness or a modern suction pump.
Getting a prosthetic leg fitted doesn’t automatically guarantee ease of use unless major changes are made in lifestyle. It's an uphill task that requires that the patient and the prosthetist work together tirelessly to ensure a proper fit and function.