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Posted On: 1 August 2009 06:01 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Technology lends a hand – and a foot

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The Prosthetic and Orthotic department at Rumaillah Hospital has introduced the latest technological devices in the field to help amputees. The new devices include C-leg (computerised-leg), microprocessor knee, proprio foot, rheo knee and i-Limb hand. “With most prosthetic knees, users worry about stumbling or falling and have to keep their prosthetic knee straight with each step, but C-leg technology has changed all that, as it allows the user to seamlessly speed up or slow down, take on hills or slopes, recover from stumbles and go down stairs step-over-step,” explained department head Fadal Adams. He said microprocessors controlled the knee’s hydraulic function. Senior prosthetist Philip Antony said the proprio foot was the world’s first intelligent foot module and provided unprecedented physiological benefits for amputees. “This device helps the amputees to sit and stand up easily and more naturally and when walking, it automatically gives the toe a lift at the exact moment in swing phase that will allow sufficient ground clearance,” explained Antony. He said the i-Limb hand was a prosthetic device with five individually powered digits, which made it look and act like a real human hand and represented a generational advance in bionics and patient care. The officials explained that the devices were popular among younger patients because some, especially the proprio foot, allowed them to participate in activities like jogging due to shock-absorbing mechanisms, while older patients preferred the normal modular prosthetic. “We have one Qatari patient who is going for the C-leg and another two patients will be fitted with proprio foot soon and we are still hoping for patients to demand the other devices,” Adams said. Some of the cases being attended to by the department include diabetics, amputees, people with fractures, severely injured patients and those with special needs such as spinal bifida and cerebral palsy patients. “We have initiated our own signature shoes called ‘Adams’ split’ for the special needs patients and we have special diabetic shoes and socks made of wool or cotton to provide extra support and protection for their feet,” he said. Adams said the department planned to introduce new technology for seating and positioning of wheelchair patients and those with muscular-skeletal problems who needed additional support to prevent deformities.