Adapting to Life With a Prosthetic: How Does a Prosthetic Leg Work?
Modern day prosthetics aren’t your grandparent’s prosthetics. Today’s medical devices offer patients and a whole host of choices considering function and appearance. If an artificial limb is in your future, you might wonder how does a prosthetic leg work.
How does a prosthetic leg work
Prosthetic legs are classified in two categories: above the knee and below the knee. Both provide an amputee patient with a much greater degree of mobility and independence than if they were wheel-chair bound. Above the knee prosthetics are a little more complicated than the below-the-knee variety because they provide the movement of two major joints, not just one. And that’s how a prosthetic leg works.
What matters more considering how does a prosthetic leg work
Amputee patients contemplating introducing a prosthetic leg in their daily life will have choices to make. One of the first will be whether they care more about function or aesthetics. Some prosthetic legs are made to look so real that it can be hard to tell they’re a prosthetic at all. Other prosthetics are made more to assist with a specific function like running or cycling which can greatly impact how they look, oftentimes more mechanical than a real limb.
Fitting for a prosthetic leg
After amputation surgery, a patient will allow the residual limb to completely heal before the prosthetic leg fitting process begins. Once it’s fully healed, they will meet with a prosthetist and discuss their goals and perceived limitations. Armed with information, the prosthetist will set out to create an artificial limb for the patient that will best suit their needs and return them to some degree of normalcy.
Once the limb has been manufactured, the patient will learn to use it and incorporate it into their daily life. This process isn’t automatic and rarely comes naturally. It also requires the ongoing assistance of a physical therapy team that can teach a patient to move naturally utilizing the limb.