Illinois Prosthetics Technology
Helping provide prosthetic care

Prosthetic Knees July 21, 2014

Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is the reconstruction of the knee joint which is damaged by means of a surgical procedure. It aims in relieving pain as well as restoring joint motion and stability. Early attempts in treating severe joint destruction have made used of soft interpositional materials like human, animal, and synthetic membranes but none succeeded due to the materials which are not able to withstand the wear or even maintain the stability of the joint. Metallic implant materials have been developed beginning 1940 and the ceramic or metal prostheses since then became part of the knee reconstruction. The knee replacement refers to the usage of hinge-type prostheses. These days, all of the contemporary prostheses will be resurfacing the degraded joint surfaces and still the procedure is considered as replacement for the knee joint.

prosthetic-kneeNowadays, all of the prostheses make use of polyethylene intended for the tibial and frequently the patellar articulating surfaces. The metal-on-metal implants have been originally used however the corrosion occurred which led to the limitation of their success. Polyethylene has been constantly used for over forty years for the surgical procedure of knee replacement. Knee prostheses are being secured to the underlying bone with the utilization of acrylic resins or porous metal surface for anchoring cement.

The kind of knee being used for the above knee prosthesis depends on the client’s level of activity, strength as well as ability of knee control, weight of the client, length of the residual limb, preference of the patient, and funding. Friction is utilized in the knees for controlling the knee joint when walking. The friction is responsible to control the distance and speed of the knee bending and straightening during gait. There are knees that have mechanical friction and others have the hydraulic resistance. The computerized knees control the knee speed depending on the gait of the client. The mechanical knees are responsible for the provision of constant friction. The computerized knees and hydraulic knees are responsible for the knee speed change based on the speed of the walking client.

Manual Locking Knee – It is the most stable knee utilized in prosthetics wherein the knee is locked at the time of gait and the client releases the lock mechanism so that he or she can sit down. These knees are intended for clients having very short residual limbs or poor hip strength as well as for those losing abilities in controlling the knee.

Single Axis Constant Friction Knees – These are basic knees that can bend freely and are utilized by kids having a lower center of gravity or for clients having excellent musculature control that walks at only one speed.
Weight Activated Stance Control Knee – It is widely used and is a single axis constant friction having a braking mechanism.

Polycentric Knees – It has variable center of rotation that allows having stable gait phases. It lets the knee to have easy bending for sitting.

Hydraulic Knees – These allow adjustments for the speed of walking using hydraulics, which include either air or liquid, within the knee.

Programmable or Computerized Knees – These make use of remote handheld, programs, or software for the adjustment of one’s gait and speed in walking.

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Categories: Prosthetic Devices

Prosthetic Technicians July 8, 2014

A prosthetic technician is someone who makes use of the eye for detail as well as mechanical ability for the creation and repair of the replacement limbs. These technicians utilize both machinery and computer equipment in designing, creating, and customizing prosthetic limbs intended for the medical patients. They make use of different materials including plastics, wood, or metal. Usually, they cover the prosthetic limbs with the use of latex and then followed with a painting that has the same color of the skin of the patient so that it will appear natural. Following the creation of the prosthetic limbs, the prosthetic technicians will be testing the devices to be guaranteed that these will properly function and that necessary adjustments can be made as needed.

prosthetic-armIn order to become a prosthetic technician, one must have an associate degree or certification coming from an institution which is accredited. Frequently, the person who desires of becoming a prosthetic technician need to have a two-year internship completion wherein he or she undergoes practical skills training under the supervisor’s guidance. Apprenticeship is another option other than going to college in order to become a prosthetic technician. Usually, the apprenticeships will be completed in about four years. Students who wish to be this kind of technician may take courses such as wood shop, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, and anatomy. However, there are some employers who have the will in training the applicants with the skills granted that they have a high school diploma.

Prosthetic technicians are required have the skills and characteristics of becoming one. It is vital to be good with machine operations like the power tools. They must have a high level of hand-and-eye coordination. The prostheses must be detailed as well as precisely fitted that is why it is vital for the prosthetic technician to have attention to detail, patience, manual dexterity, and desire in doing precision work. The technicians are expected to be operating a wide range of machines and tools in manufacturing prostheses so they need to be comfortable when they make use of all of the tools. They must have the ability in following detailed directions very closely and must also acquire good communication skills. Those who are familiar with the human kinetics, biology, physical therapy, or other health professions are likely to be assets to become a prosthetic technician.

Those who work as prosthetic technicians are employed in various fields including the rehabilitation facilities, healthcare settings, and medical device manufacturing settings where the prosthetic body parts like the ears, arms, and legs are built, fitted, and repaired. The services provided by prosthetic technicians are vital for the disabled individuals or for those who are injured because of the advantages they can have. The prosthetic body parts provide restoration of mobility as well as functionality which helps the individual in regaining both independence and life satisfaction. The prosthetic technicians work along with or under the prosthetists’ supervision. Prosthetists are the ones designing the prostheses of the patients and the ones helping the patients in integrating the prosthetic into their lives.

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