The NHS has recently announced more treatments that will be available for free for patients in England. On the list is specialist prosthetics treatment for microprocessor controlled knees.
These advanced prosthetic knees improve mobility for the user, as well as reducing the risks of falls and sustaining further injuries. By using real-time feedback, the microprocessor in the knee adjusts the knee flexion and extension depending on the speed of walking and the terrain.
The microprocessor knees allow for more stability when walking on slopes, across different terrains, as well as on steps and stairways. The extra stability means patients can trust in their walking ability and this will greatly improve their quality of life and mobility.
Offering these advanced prosthetics on the NHS gives Consultants the opportunity to find the best solutions for their patients. Gaining access to these prosthetics will mean fewer people with above-knee and hip amputations will encounter a fall and potential injury as well as dealing with other problems due to uneven weight distribution (because of a lack of confidence in standard prosthetics).
The care needs of people with an upper leg amputation can be complex. From the injuries sustained through falling, through to the knock-on medical problems with joints, lower back pain, arthritis and hip replacements, by providing microprocessor knees, this can also reduce the strain on other resources in the NHS as well as improve the quality of life for amputees.
As these prosthetic knees become more readily available it also paves the way for further enhancement and improvement within the field of prosthetics. Larger user groups will also result in more feedback for designers and help future technologies to develop.