Why I love and missed my C-leg
So I was browsing around the blog world and not very many people have blogged about the C-leg. Everything is mostly about the technical aspects of how it works and what it does, but nothing about how it has improved lives. I got an e-mail from someone wondering about it and I decided to post all the reasons I love my C-leg here.
1) The computer responds to how fast you are moving. Before I had my C-leg and when I was trying to walk fast I had very uneven steps. My other knee just couldn’t keep up with my speed. The C-leg responds to your speed and keeps up so that steps stay even. You could definitely run in it, although if the running was really competitive, you would probably want to get a specially made leg for running.
2) The knee has two modes. I use the second mode for biking which means that the knee is in free swing without any resistance. Although the can program the second mode for almost anything. If you were really into roller skating/blading, you could program the knee to lock at a certain angle to help push off. Something to talk to the prosthetist about, and if they seem limited consider asking other prosthetic companies, even if it’s out of state.
3) The knee supports your weight and saves your body in the long run. Before I had my C-knee I was always falling. I also was using my lower back to get down things like ramps instead of using the knee like a “normal” person would. Since my old knee had to stay straight while I was my lower back was being abused. I found that my body overall felt much better and I also could go much longer because I could use my knee like it should be used. You can go down stairs normally, down ramps normally, put weight on both legs to sit down, use the knee to slow yourself down, etc. I still haven’t stopped finding ways that ‘bearing weight on my knee while bent’ has helped me. It also helps a ton with uneven terrain, so that hiking is easier and even just walking across a park doesn’t take so much concentration.
4) I can look up while walking. Before I had to keep my eyes on the ground all the time to watch for cracks in the sidewalk and such. It was so nice to be able to walk and look up around me at the same time.
5) Less oxygen burned. An amputee usually uses about twice as much oxygen (and energy) to get from point A to point B. With the C-leg this is much better. Since you use less oxygen and energy stamina is increased greatly.
I’ve been an amputee for ten years now. The C-leg was the greatest improvement in my walking by far. The other thing that really counts is the fit of your socket. Not all companies do this the same, and it is much more of an art than a science. Make sure that you feel sturdy and supported in you socket. This is the reason I had to send my leg. I go out of state for my prosthetics because the company I go to now has done the best work I’ve ever had. Just switching prosthetic companies made a huge improvement in my walking. (I’m fairly short, mid thigh amputee). As much as it was a hassle not to have it for a few days, it’s also worth it because they are great at what they do.
OttoBock really backs up their products and they seem to be able to take quite a beating. They do have warranties (including extended ones you or you insurance can pay a little extra for) and maintenance checks to make sure they are working top notch.
I had to send in my leg again. The second mode wasn’t working, but now it’s working beautifully and I am enjoying it once again. It sucks that I have to send it so far away, but my prosthetic company really does do an amazing job, and I owe a lot of wonderful miles of walking to them, so I didn’t stay mad too long. Especially now that my leg and I have been reunited.