August 10, 2007
Methodist Rehab first in Mississippi to offer motor-powered 'intelligent' prosthetic foot
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics is the first 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 varying terrain.
That makes activities like stair climbing a lot easier for folks like Kenny Buford of Crystal Springs.
“I used to have to swing my leg to get up stairs,” said Buford, who has been wearing an artificial left leg since 2001. “Now sensors in my foot detect the height change and my ankle clicks into climbing mode.”
A key advantage of the bionic foot is it provides artificial proprioception – the ability to sense where a limb is in space, says Chris Wallace of Madison, director of Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics, a division of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.
“People with amputations lose that awareness, and it’s a huge safety concern,” Wallace 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. Then a tiny battery-powered computer processes this data and adjusts the movement of the foot.
“It’s basically like your brain sending commands to your muscles -- only this message goes from a microprocessor to a motor drive,” Wallace said. “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.
Buford, a prosthetic technician at Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Flowood, has been wearing the foot, and he says it only took a couple of weeks to get comfortable with his new abilities. “It does give you a smoother gait because you have actual ankle motion.”
Proprio fittings and training are available at Methodist clinics in Flowood, Hattiesburg, Cleveland and Meridian, as well as Monroe, La. To schedule a free evaluation, call 601-936-8899 or call toll-free 1-866-306-9933.
Kenny Buford demonstrates how the innovative Ossur Proprio Foot makes it easier for prosthetic users to navigate changing terrain.