Monday, February 12, 2007

Replacement parts: Technology takes off

Replacement parts: Technology takes off
By Sarah Cox
There is good news for those approximately 1.8 million people living with limb loss in the United States today: They no longer have to use leather straps that encircle waists or shoulders; they no longer are saddled with hickory peg-legs or, as in the case of a woman in her 30s in 1923, an entire wooden leg encased in horsehide that weighed so much she basically was hindered as much by the prosthesis as she was by her limb loss.
Virginia Prosthetics, established in 1966, has helped promote the fitting of limbs that now affix to the residual limb with silicone suction sockets and are made of energy-storing carbon fiber and imbedded microprocessors. The carbon fiber returns, through the gait, 80 to 90 percent of the energy put into the feet, explains owner and president J. Douglas Call.


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