Lower limb prosthetic appearance – Current Trends
An increasing number of lower limb prosthetic users are more comfortable with, and in some ways proud to show off, their exposed prosthesis, in preference to a conventional cosmetic cover.
Historically, a bolder appearance has generally been favoured by younger, more active, prosthetic users. Recently however, a wider range of amputees prefer a more contemporary design.
As PACE Prosthetist Jamie Gillespie explains, “Within our clinics, we are being more frequently asked to provide colourful socket designs for children, uncovered designs for females, or carbon fibre finished prostheses for some more senior amputees”.
Colourful sockets and carbon fibre finishes look great and are well established. However, their exposed design, where the shape of the prosthesis can be crudely described as a prosthetic socket, a pylon and a foot, do not lend themselves to allow clothing to hang naturally over them.
The Carbon Stride fairing, devised and produced by an above the knee prosthetic user, provides an alternative solution, where a fantastic looking shell adds shape and substance to above and below the knee designs. When exposed, the prosthesis has its own unique appearance, which has been welcomed by many. When covered, trousers hang more naturally allowing users to blend more easily within certain social situations.
Thanks to such innovations, boundaries are being pushed by limb wears to achieve the desired appearance of their prosthesis and for a more unique finish, and why not?
A quick search on the internet will unveil a range of design concepts of prostheses where students and designers have lent their skills to offer visual improvements, often as a part of research projects. Unfortunately, it appears that these examples, stunning as they appear, remain as design concepts and are unlikely to find their way into a clinical setting.
Jamie continues, “At PACE Rehabilitation we are fortunate to have access to materials, knowledge, experience and the attention to detail required in order to produce highly functional and comfortable prostheses for our clients. In return, we are being challenged to improve the visual design of these limbs to meet the expectations of our clients”.
PACE Rehabilitation recently took on the task of taking a patient’s design from a sketch to an expertly finished handcrafted piece of art. Working closely with the silicone team at Dorset Orthopaedic, a bespoke and unique finish was created over a comfortable and functional prosthesis.
As the patient, Daniel Hughes, explains, “I didn’t want a ‘conventional’ appearance to my prosthesis. Instead I wanted something that makes a statement and I think we have certainly achieved that. It’s unique and I love it!”
With support from his solicitor, Lisa Samuel at New Law Solicitors, Daniel has been provided with a device that he feels confident to display and proud to show others.
Jamie summarises, “As the function and expectations of our limb wearers increases, largely thanks to increased media coverage of amputees and information shared online, we have found our designs evolving to meet the high standards expected of us. We will continue to remain responsive and take great pride from the clinical outcomes achieved”.
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Tags: amputee, James Gillespie, lower limb prosthetic, PACE Rehabilitation, prostheses, prosthetic