Is That a Brain in Your Shoe?
By Susan Christensen
Health and Resesarch News Service
Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics is the only clinic in Mississippi certified to offer fittings and training for the Ossur Proprio Foot — the world’s first motor-powered and intelligent prosthetic foot.
The winner of the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award, the Proprio Foot automatically adjusts ankle positioning to accommodate changing terrain. The end result is a safer and more balanced gait.
A key advantage of the bionic foot is it provides artificial proprioception — the ability to sense where a limb is in space, said Chris Wallace, director of Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics. “People with amputations lose that awareness, and it’s a huge safety concern,” he said. “It’s hard to walk with confidence when you have no sense of what’s underfoot.”
Sophisticated motion sensors in the Propio Foot measure real-time movement at a rate of 1,600 times per second. A tiny battery-powered computer processes this data and adjusts the movement of the foot.
“If the software program sensed you were climbing stairs, it would direct the ankle to flex appropriately,” Wallace explained. “It’s basically like your brain sending commands to your muscles — only this message goes from a microprocessor to a motor drive.”
“When Proprio users need to lift their toes to clear the ground while they’re walking or bend their ankles to stand up, it all happens automatically.”
Another plus of the Proprio is it can be customized to fit each person’s distinct walking style. “All it takes to develop a customized gait profile is 15 steps,” Wallace said.
Proprio fittings and training are available at Methodist clinics in Flowood, Hattiesburg and Meridian, as well as Monroe, La. To schedule a free evaluation, call 601-936-8899 or call toll-free 1-866-306-9933.
CLICK TO ENLARGE | The Ossur Proprio Foot is the world's first motor-powered and intelligent prosthetic foot.