Prosthetic technology has come a long way in recent years — Having effectively revolutionized the lives of people with limb loss. More particularly, it’s the leg prosthetics from companies like prosthetics and orthotics company that have seen some cutting-edge advancements that enhance the quality of life for the afflicted person.
In this article, we’re going to talk about five remarkable technologies from prosthetics and orthotics companies that promote convenience, comfort, mobility, and independence in people with limb loss. Let's start with the bionic tech!
1. Bionic & Smart Prosthetic Limbs
Bionic and smart prosthetic limbs offer amputees a completely new level of mobility and functionality. Nothing short of a remarkable breakthrough in the world of limb replacement, these prosthetics have taken the world by storm. From full leg prosthetics to smaller amputated toes prosthetics, the advancement in technology is changing lives.
These technologically advanced prosthetics use microprocessors and sensors inside them that can detect changes in movement and gait. This data allows them to make adjustments in real-time for more precise control.
Smart prosthetic knees, for example, can analyze your walking patterns and terrain variations under the feet automatically adapting the resistance and damping. Such adjustments aim to make the gait smoother and more natural.
Bionic ankles, on the other hand, use robotics to mimic the ankle’s flexibility. This provides users with better balance and stability during everyday tasks and activities. In some cases, these prosthetics can offer such an excellent range of motion that amputees can even engage in more physically demanding activities impossible for them in the past.
This gives the user a sense of empowerment and independence.
2. Powered Prosthetics
Powered prosthetic limbs have also revolutionized the lives of amputees by improving mobility and restoring a sense of control over movements. These devices use materials like carbon fiber and include mechanisms like springs and hydraulics to provide dynamic flexibility and improved energy efficiency.
Powered prosthetic feet, for example, can store and release energy during each step, simulating the natural spring-like action of a human foot.
Users can walk with a more fluid and energy-efficient gait with the help of these devices and reduce overall fatigue or strain on the other limb.
Powered prosthetics can help amputees experience a more comfortable walking experience that allows them to tackle various terrains and inclines with ease. The added balance and stability also empower users to engage in activities like running or sports.
Not all prosthetics can be powered. For example, below knee custom prosthetic leg or amputated toes prosthetics are not likely to be powered. Generally, it’s the feet and ankles that are powered.
Osseointegration or direct bone attachments is a surgical technique that has transformed the way prosthetic limbs are attached to the user’s body. Typically, prosthetics are “worn.” That can not only cause discomfort but skin-related issues over time as well.
Osseointegration directly attaches the prosthetic limb to the residual bone. This is a stronger fusion that’s naturally more secure and stable. As a result, osseointegration allows for a greater range of motion and weight-bearing capacity while reducing restriction and discomfort.
A more natural limb movement allows you to feel connected to the prosthetic limb as an integrated part of your body and the improved stability and proprioception are always good to-haves.
4. Sensory Feedback & Proprioception
Sensory feedback and proprioception technologies are often added in more advanced prosthetic limbs. They change the way amputees interact with their artificial appendages.
Sensory feedback systems utilize pressure sensors and artificial nerves for tactile sensations. This helps the user sense pressure, texture, and temperature. Sensory information like this can help users make real-time adjustments to better navigate the surrounding environment.
Such capabilities in prosthetics offer a more intuitive and natural experience with the artificial limb.
Proprioception, on the other hand, allows users to have a better sense of the limb’s position and movement in space. Prosthetic limbs can send signals to the brain with the help of advanced neural interfaces and feedback loops creating a sense of embodiment and better control.
You can expect a significant improvement in the balance and coordination between the user and the prosthetic with the help of proprioception, which, in turn, improves mobility and confidence in daily activities.
5. Customizability of Limb Prosthetics
Customizability and personalization of limb prosthetics are not exactly cutting-edge technological improvements, but they have improved a lot over the last few years. Amputees can better reflect their individuality and express their personality through artificial limbs.
The main driving force behind this has been the advent of 3D printing technology. The design and production process has become very simple and fast with better 3D printers, allowing for more personalized and tailor-made prosthetic solutions.
Whether it’s the colors, patterns, designs, or writing, amputees can choose to match their unique preferences and lifestyle with the help of customized prosthetics.
Also, cosmetically realistic covers can create a seamless appearance, making an artificial limb blend with the user’s natural appearance.
We have certainly come very far. Today, we even have engineers and scientists working on machines that have sensors, artificial intelligence, and some controls allowing humans to bypass nerve damage and recover complete mobility! The world of prosthetics is fast-evolving and communicating our mobility needs to our body, whether or not we’re “naturally” capable of doing so, is becoming increasingly common.
Any reputable prosthetics and orthotics company will have upper and lower limb prosthetics, as well as reliable athletic prosthetics and direct socket prosthetic systems for more specialized needs. Technologically superior prosthetics can also be custom engineered by these companies or specialist healthcare providers.