As a below knee amputee who has gotten used to wearing a leg prosthesis, you may feel that a change in the type of prosthetic foot you are using will be an advantage to you, when you get your next prosthesis.
This is a common occurrence as amputees want to take advantage of the opportunities that improving technology has to offer. Commonly this will mean moving on to a prosthetic foot with a moveable ankle or onto a prosthetic foot with energy returning capability.
However, you may be asking… Which type of prosthetic foot should I choose?
If you encounter a lot of uneven terrain in your daily activity or have a knee that is stiff and can’t fully bend, then you should try a prosthetic foot with a moveable ankle. Having a moveable ankle will allow your prosthetic foot to meet the uneven ground with greater ease and reduce the forces around your knee as you walk. As a result you will feel that you have better balance whilst walking and your stump and knee joint will be more comfortable.
If your walking has improved and you are doing more of it and you are walking strongly with your leg prosthesis, you would probably do well on an energy storing foot. These types of prosthetic feet allow you to harness the energy you put into them at heel strike and release it at toe off as you walk over your prosthesis. However, your knee muscles have to be strong enough to control the energy to use it at toe off and avoid buckling of your knee as you put weight onto your prosthesis.
Initially, the energy storing prosthetic foot will feel stiffer to walk on but as you master the technique required to use it you will definitely feel that you get “more bounce to the ounce” out of your leg prosthesis. To ensure that your knee is up to controlling an energy storing foot you should do the Inner Range Knee Strengthening Exercises in Chapter 9 of The Amputee Coach Book.
So when it is time for you to get a new leg prosthesis, take the opportunity to ask your prosthetist for advice on whether there is a prosthethic foot more suited to your life.
Until next time … Cathy … The Amputee Coach
P.S I look forward to hearing our comments, feedback or questions…
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