Prosthetic legs, also known as artificial legs, provide amputees with a replacement for a fully functioning limb. This prevents the need for a wheelchair. Of all prosthetics, artificial limbs are critical for patients to resume a normal life.
Although wheelchairs help with mobility, most amputees would prefer a leg replacement to a wheelchair. Prosthetics can sometimes be bought through medical supplies stores or can be ordered for your specific situation by your doctor.
The need for leg prosthetics can be from amputation because of an accident, birth defect, vascular disease or other medical complication. They can generally be divided in to two types of prosthetic leg.
Above the knee prosthesis or below the knee prosthesis.
Below the knee prosthetics
Below the knee or Trans-Tibial prosthetics is where the lower limb needs to be replaced, and patient retains a stump for the artificial leg to be attached.
Below the knee prostheses for normally consist of a socket, shank or shin and a foot.
Patellar-Tendon-Bearing or PTB sockets are a common design where the weight of the amputee is transferred to the stump of the leg. PTB sockets totally enclose the stump and can contain either a soft or hard liner. Attachment of the leg prosthesis can be by a cuff above the knee cap or by the shape of the brim or socket. Alternatively an elastic sleeve can be used creating suction between the socket artificial limb.
A diagram of Trans-Tibial prosthetics can be seen below:
Above the knee prosthetics
Above knee prosthetics or Transfemoral Prosthesis, can be more complicated comprising of a socket, a knee system, a shank and a foot or ankle system. Consultation with your doctor or prosthetic and orthotic specialist will help you to decide the prosthetic leg that is right for you.
Prosthetic leg costs
Below-the-knee prosthetics usually costs between $6,000 and $8,000. A prosthetic leg above the knee usually can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 and can be as much as $35,000 so if needed, hopefully you have individual disability insurance.
If you have the money, the C-leg by Otto Bock HealthCare is also worth looking into. It is completely microprocessor-controlled leg prosthesis system that has multiple settings for walking and running cycling or even inline-skating!