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Prosthetic Knees – Everything You Need To Know

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Prosthetic knee mechanisms for above-knee amputees have seen some amazing technical advancements in recent decades, and this trend continues to see growth. These enhancements have contributed to improving the prosthetic knee’s functioning and overall safety. Microprocessor controlled knees (MPKs) are the most notable of these advancements. Most modern-day knees include hydraulic and pneumatic integration as a result of technological advancements. This permits the knee units to adjust to their surroundings, which is important while walking up and down stairs or on slopes.

When evaluating a patient for the first time or upgrading their prosthesis, it is critical to ask questions and/or conduct a web search to learn more about the knee/prosthesis and view any information available. Each knee has unique characteristics that affect the individual’s gait as well as rehabilitation in terms of sitting or standing, ramps, stairs, uneven terrain, and walking at various speeds.

Single-Axis Prosthetic Knees

This mechanism is a simple hinge type knee. These articulations perform a basic rotation around the knee axis during flexion/extension. They have a basic design and are straightforward to align according to mechanical requirements. Exoskeletal and endoskeletal knees are available, and both can include manual or automated flexion blocking for people with limited muscular force. Regular prosthetic fitting of amputees with appropriate muscular control and/or in situations with limited financial resources can be done with the knees without obstructing.

The advantages of this mechanism is it provides a very easy, durable, light and economical option for amputees. Although this mechanism can be simplistic, it then means the amputee has to utilise their own muscle power within the limb to stay stable with heel contact and standing. To improve standing stability, a manual lock can be fitted. This is a continuous friction control, which prevents the leg from swinging through too rapidly.

Microprocessor Controlled Knees (MPK’s)

After consulting with APC Prosthetics, a local team of prosthetists in NSW, Australia. They have mentioned that MPK’s are now integrating multi-axial knee unit designs that have demonstrated enhanced stability without the downside of increased energy consumption. These advancements in prosthetic knees enable their prosthetists to design a prosthesis that will help amputees receive the most out of their lifestyle and achieve their goals. Along with advancements in prosthetic knees, there are now a variety of socket design styles, suspension methods, prosthetic feet, and knee units to choose from; your prosthetist will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate style based on your level of amputation, functional capabilities, goals, and activities that you enjoy to the best of your abilities.

What’s the right prosthesis for you?

This completely depends on your day to day life and the prosthesis needs you will have to achieve your goals and way of life. APC Prosthetics mentions that some of their designs, such as the recreational limb, were created for a client who wants to use their prosthesis to hit the slopes and surf. Whilst there are also prosthetic limbs like the single axis that will be perfect for individuals that have simpler needs and wants. It’s recommended you get in touch with a prosthetist who will point you in the right direction.