Types of Prosthetic Legs

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Whether a person loses his leg from an accident, medical condition or other reason, a prosthetic or artificial leg can help that individual live a somewhat normal life. There are two basic types of prosthetic legs.

Below the Knee

A trans-tibial, or below-the-knee prosthetic, is used when the patient has a stump of the leg remaining. They are designed with a socket, shank (shin) and a foot. Because the knee is still in place, the patient can usually find better mobility than those with an above-the-knee prosthetic.

Above the Knee

The trans-femoral, or above-the-knee prosthetic, is for a patient that has lost her knee and the rest of her leg. These prosthetic legs are made of a socket, knee system, a shank and a foot. The above-the-knee prosthetic can be difficult for the patient to maneuver because of the detailed functionality of the artificial knee.

New Technology

There are always new advancements to improve prosthetic legs. Otto Bock Healthcare has created the “C- leg,” which is a very expensive prosthesis system that allows the patient to program it for running and cycling along with other athletic capabilities.

Cost

In 2009, the cost for a below-the-knee prosthetic was anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000.

An above-the-knee prosthetic can cost between $10,000 to $35,000.

History

The National Academy of Sciences started the first Artificial Limb Program in 1945 to improve prosthetic technology over the wood and copper prosthetic legs that were being used.

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