Many Americans with limb loss due to illness, injury, or congenital condition utilize prosthetic limbs to be functional and independent, either with or without canes, crutches, or wheelchairs to assist in mobility. Prosthetic limbs are custom made and fit to the unique needs of the user. There is a wide range of technological innovation in prosthetics, with some of the more advanced prostheses using lightweight but strong materials, and components that replicate natural human movement. Prosthetic technologies enable people with artificial limbs to be highly active and perform a variety of fitness activities such as running and swimming.
- Microprocessor controlled prosthetic knee. These new computer-assisted “smart” knee joints “learn” from a person’s movements to assist in reducing falls and improving one’s gait. They have been shown to benefit users by reducing energy expenditure, increasing stability, increasing the ability to walk on uneven terrain, slopes and stairs, and reducing trauma to sound limbs (for unilateral amputees), hips, and the spine.