A Manual for Above-Knee Amputees


The primary purpose of the shank is to transfer the vertical loads caused by the weight of the amputee to the foot and on to the floor. Two types are available: Crustacean, or exoskeletal, where the forces are carried through the outside walls of the hollow shank which is shaped like a leg; and endoskeletal, or pylon, where the forces are carried through a central structure, usually a tube and the shape of the leg is provided by a foam covering.

Each design has advantages and disadvantages. The endoskeletal systems offer the most life-like appearance and "feel", but require more care to maintain. The crustacean design is suitable for heavy duty. Most endoskeletal parts are designed for moderate or light duty, but heavy duty systems are available.

Another advantage of some of the endoskeletal systems is that knee units of greater complexity can be introduced as the amputee becomes more proficient or his functional needs change.

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Copyright 1996 - Alvin L. Muilenburg and A. Bennett Wilson, jr.

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