While the general public is aware of prosthetic limbs, the parts of a prosthesis aren’t commonly known or understood. As modern prosthetic parts continue to become more user-friendly and functional, they’re able to provide amputees with a new quality of life.
Knowing the components of prosthetic legs is helpful in understanding how each part works together as one unit. Whether you’re gaining this understanding for yourself or a loved one, our team at PrimeCare is here to help!
One of the main components of prosthesis includes the leg itself. This is made using a model that’s based on your residual limb in addition to the rest of your body. The two main prosthetic leg parts include:
- Below-the-knee prosthesis;
- Above-the-knee prosthesis, including artificial knees.
The specific design hinges on different factors such as the specific area where the amputation occurred or simply the design preferences of the patient. In most cases, the limb of the prosthetic is made using lightweight materials and covered in flesh-colored plastic that closely mimics your skin. Keep in mind that a secondary sports prosthesis could look different.
The socket is another component part of the prosthesis. Just like a human socket, a prosthetic socket acts as a transitional piece of equipment in the overall prosthesis. It connects your prosthetic limb to your residual limb for better mobility and stability. It might be necessary to get updated sockets that are made from plaster casts or imaging technology of your residual limb; this is only natural as your body changes over time. The design and the material of the socket depend on whether it is a BK or AK prosthesis. Sockets sometimes have a sleeve or a harness system depending on specifics.
The liner is one of the most important components of the prosthetic leg in terms of comfort. It acts as a protective layer between the skin and the socket, but the liner also plays a role in suspending the socket from the residual limb. As both the socket and the suspensions are integral to an effective prosthetic limb, it’s highly important to choose the right liner.
Here are the three main ways to attach a liner to your socket:
- A locking liner in when a locking pin is paced at the end furthest away from the residual limb;
- A seal-in liner is made with a vacuum seal;
- A cushioned liner is an extra sleeve that’s applied over the liner of the socket.
Another component part of the prosthesis is the knee. In today’s market, there are several prosthetic knees that you can consider, but this facet of a prosthetic is only needed with above-the-knee limbs (AK). The two main types of prosthetic knees are the single-axis and the polycentric axis. Single-axis knees only bend the knee forwards and backward while polycentric axis knees have the ability to bend in multiple ways. Your team will work with you to choose the knee type that suits you the best.
The type of prosthetic feet that you choose will depend on your physical capabilities in addition to your overall lifestyle. They come in a range of complexities including a basic solid ankle/cushioned heel type of foot to dynamic, responsive feet that sync with the energy level of the walker. Generally speaking, prosthetic feet are designed to be light and slim for comfort and ease of use when walking. The foot should be small enough to fit into a shoe while being able to endure running, hiking, jumping, or walking.
Structural Components and Control System
The structural components of a prosthetic leg are integral to its functionality. They are simpler than an upper limb in terms of movement and there’s the advantage of gravity to help execute the body’s natural movements. For the patients who want a more advanced structure, there are also micro compressor-controlled knees and ankles. In this case, adjustments are made frequently to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient. For example, some people don’t like the vacuumed feeling that the socket produces and prefer a strap instead.
Contact Us to Learn More
At PrimeCare Orthotics and Prosthetics, we’re passionate about helping Las Cruces residents regain their mobility and their confidence. If you’re interested in learning more about your prosthetic options, please reach out to us today!