Microprocessor knees have been available since the C-Leg was introduced in 1997. Although the various prosthetic computerized knees have distinct features and differences, they all share one attribute: the knees only move when they are unloaded.
Unlike other prosthetic knees available, the PowerKnee, by Ossur, is motorized in order to simulate the muscle lost through the amputation. This knee has the ability to move when fully loaded, providing power through the prosthesis. The PowerKnee enhances the ability to walk by helping the individual move through the gait cycle.
The PowerKnee assists the amputee with maintaining their walking speed and enables the wearer to walk on various terrain. The extra power provided by this prosthesis assists the amputee and allows him or her to walk for longer periods of time. Because the knee compensates for loss of muscle, the amputee does not have to utilize gait deviations. A natural gait pattern minimizes the strain placed upon other muscles, including the hips, back and shoulders.
Perhaps one of the most impressive features of this device is its ability to help the amputee walk up stairs. Most above knee amputees walk up stairs using a single leg step pattern. This groundbreaking prosthetic knee provides the amputee with the means to walk up stairs in a natural leg over leg fashion.
The PowerKnee is now in its second generation. The unit has been redesigned, creating a sleeker look and more user friendly interface than the model shown in the video. The battery lasts for approximately 6 to 8 hours. Each unit comes with an extra battery and a portable charging station so that the user never needs to be without power. Should power be lost, the PowerKnee becomes a rigid and stable knee.
The PowerKnee II is going to be commercially available in the coming months. If you think that this knee might be for you, give us a call. Rest assured that our practitioners are trained and experienced in fitting this groundbreaking technology.