Medical Minute: Prosthetic Limbs

The earliest prosthetic limbs were essentially just wooden legs. From there, science has made them more comfortable, more functional, and lighter. The next phase of prosthetic legs is here and it's giving people the confidence to do activities they never thought possible.

Fifteen years ago, Chris Culross met his wife, Andrea, and found a new hobby.

"I was over at her house one day, and her mother pulled some out and said, 'Here, have some pancakes and maple syrup that I made,' and I thought that was the best idea," says Chris Culross, an amputee.

But, tapping trees for syrup took on a new challenge when Chris lost his leg in a car accident. His first prosthetic was not what he expected.

"A wire came up and that's how I had to pull it to bend it," Chris says.

Even walking on smooth surfaces required total concentration.

"Even in a building, if there was a little bump on the floor, I'd hit it and tumble," adds Chris.

Determined to find something better, Chris went to Harvey Sosnoff. He fitted Chris with a new leg called a C-Leg, short for computerized leg.

"This is a live, animated thing that actually senses in real tie where his knee is," says Harvey.

Fifty times a second, a computer chip reads the amount of pressure on his foot and the position of his knee. Real time adjustments inside the knee keep Chris steady on his feet.

For Chris, the benefits are more than he could have imagined.

"I've never been able to hold my son and walk. Now, I can," Chris says.

For more information, contact:

Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics

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