Tibial (or below-knee) prosthesis
A prosthesis for a tibial or below-knee amputation must provide maximum comfort at the stump (residual limb) and be compatible with the activity level desired by the user.
The various characteristics of the prosthesis must meet the requirements specific to the everyday activities the user wishes to perform (moving around the house, slow and fast walking, occupational and leisure activities, activities that require a waterproof device).
The prosthesis must deliver in a number of key areas. It must be: easy to fit, comfortable so that it can be tolerated right through the day, safe, reliable and either stable or compatible with high-performance sporting activity.
Various elements come together to produce a prosthesis:
- A liner is worn over the stump to create an interface between the stump and the socket. It improves comfort levels and absorbs the pressure forces on the stump.
- The socket is the rigid structure of the prosthesis which supports the user’s weight and transmits the motion of the stump to the prosthesis when walking.
- A prosthetic foot is chosen to suit the user’s activity level:
For users who mainly live in their home, a light and functional foot is recommended since its primary characteristic is stability.
For more active users, an energy-returning foot is recommended since it improves walking performance and reduces fatigue.
- A tibial prosthesis may be fitted with a mobile ankle prosthesis in certain cases.
- A cosmetic cover that mimics the shape of the user’s other calf and ankle may be fitted over the prosthesis to restore a natural body shape and appearance. Several options are available, ranging from a foam with a simple outer finish to 3D-printed cosmetic covers finished with specially selected patterns and decorative designs.
The user must provide day-to-day care of the prosthesis in accordance with the instructions for use provided by the prosthetist. The liner and stump must be cleaned every day using special products. The user should arrange to see a prosthetist once a year for a general review and for servicing and maintaining the prosthesis. If users have any questions about the device they should not hesitate to contact their prosthetist or physician.