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Managing Phantom Limb Pain
Learning to Walk with a Prosthetic Leg
The loss of a lower limb has a profound impact on a person’s ability to
move through life. Hanger Clinic’s Lower
Extremity Prosthetics Program (LEPP) works to restore mobility by combining an
array of state-of-the-art components/ leg prosthetics with our patented ComfortFlex™ Socket
System. Under the direction of certified prosthetist Kevin Carroll, MS, CP,
FAAOP, a nationwide team of lower limb/extremity clinicians undergo extensive
socket design training.
The fit of the socket
(the interface between the residual limb and the prosthesis) is the key to
successful use of a prosthetic limb. That’s why ComfortFlex™ Sockets are
custom-contoured to fit the bones and muscles of the person’s residual limb to
provide more control for an active lifestyle. New materials like urethanes,
mineral based liners and improved silicone are much more flexible than the
previously used hard plastics allowing people of all ages to wear a comfortable,
flexible and lightweight leg prosthetics.
The unique design of the ComfortFlex™ Socket is not just for the young athletic
amputee, but older adults as well. A comfortable, anatomically contoured socket
is just as important to a 70- or 80-year-old patient as it is to a
teenager. Not only do the contours work
with the individual’s anatomy to help with proper transmission of forces
through the prosthesis to the ground, but they also can enhance comfort.
After decades of working on above-knee and other lower limb/extremity socket
designs, it is clear that most successful designs have come about by simply
observing nature. Through direct observation of both deep and surface anatomy,
many hours of study in cadaver labs, and computerized gait and balance analysis,
our lower extremity and leg prosthetic specialists have learned to ignore preconceived ideas
and start from a clean slate using anatomical structures as our guide.
This scientific fitting approach has begun to spill over into other levels of
amputation such as hip disarticulation and hemi-pelvectomy. Using the common sense approach of bone,
muscle, tendon, and nerve contours makes great sense for any level of
amputation. As a result of these developments, some prosthetic users have
become involved in areas of work and play that they previously thought were
Hanger Clinic’s LEPP has extensive experience working with complex cases
including hip-disarticulation and trans-pelvectomy amputations, bi-lateral
amputees, and those who face unique challenges with their residual limb. The
program offers a broad scope of care that helps individuals set and meet goals
and ultimately, restores their lifestyles.
Hanger Clinic was founded on clinical innovation and is at the very center of an amazing technological revolution. Since our beginning, we have been recognized as the leader in introducing state-of-the-art lower limb/extremity components.
An above-knee (AK) leg prosthesis consists of a custom-made socket combined with a supportive frame, knee unit, pylon, and foot. Sometimes a suspension sleeve or harness may also be necessary.
A below-knee (BK) leg prosthesis will typically consist of a custom-made socket, a pylon and a foot. Sometimes a suspension sleeve or harness may also be necessary.
While all prosthetic users face challenges, those with a hip disarticulation or transpelvic (hemipelvectomy) amputation face perhaps the longest road to becoming a successful lower limb/extremity prosthetic user. Research indicates that people reject HD/TP limbs more than any other prosthesis.
Lower limb/extremity prosthetic users have seen an increase in the amount of technology incorporated into prosthetic feet over the past several years. Currently, there are several types of prosthetic feet available that integrate microprocessors including the élan, Proprio, and BiOM.
Partial amputations of the foot include: toe amputation; mid foot amputation (metatarosphalangeal, transmetatarsal); Lisfranc amputation; and Chopart amputation.
Components such as foot and ankle prosthetics, pylons, knee units and hip units are recommended by a Hanger Clinic lower extremity and leg prosthetic specialist based on the user’s functional level as defined by Medicare.