The responses are from Katy, a bi-lateral above knee amputee, who wears C-legs. She will be the patient working in the “Well” with Coryn Reich, the Prosthetist.
1) Please tell us more about what you will present in the Well at this year’s MMVR conference.
We will be presenting microprocessor knees and showing what a difference they can make for amputees. We will be demonstrating how they help amputees walk down inclines, sit and recover from stumbling.
2) How is a a microprocessor-controlled hydraulic knee different from the artificial knees that have been used so far?
The main difference is the computer inside the knee. The microprocessor is constantly monitoring what you are doing physically (eg. walking, sitting, doing down stairs) and giving you more or less resistance. For example, I could be walking along at a regular rate and approach a ramp and without slowing down or needing to hold on the a railing, I can walk down the incline with my knees slightly bent. This gives a more ‘nautral’ appearance to walking.
3) What kind of feedback do you receive from patients?
The patients that I know using these knees are very happy. For myself, I fall a lot less then I did and I have the feeling of freedom and confidence. There is a bit of a learning curve in that you have to trust that the knee is there and going to support you, but after that you are able walk with much more ease.
4) What is your opinion about the attempt of Oscar Pistorius to compete at the Beijing Olympic Games? Can such a medical device lead to unfair advantage over able-bodied runners?
Being a member of the US Paralympic team during this time I was thrilled that the IOC would even have the conversation. Oscar is a fantastic athlete and would being doing amazing things with or without prosthetics. If there was an advantage in using carbon fiber running feet there would be many challenged athletes attempting to do what Oscar is doing. The microprocessors are not used in running, they are for everyday walking around.
Further Salon interviews:
- The Salon and The Well: Interviews
- The Salon Interviews: The Use of Virtual Reality in Addiction Medicine