My first leg
After taking ownership of my first leg, I developed a sudden interest in what type of leg, knee, foot and all the components .after all knowledge is power.
What they had kitted me out with was made by Blatchford’s Endolight.
The knee was a 4 bar pspc thingy with a muliflex foot , which according to my leg guy was a safe , good starter leg which would stay with me for around about the first year .
First knee and foot .
What it looked like when covered .
Or until my stump stopped shrinking then I would be reassessed for a possible upgrade ,. It was covered with nice foam covering with a flesh coloured stocking which might have past for a leg from a long distance away. And it was all held in place by the Tess belt system. I would later go on to hate that Tess belt, but as any amputee will tell you it’s not about the components its how well the socket fitted. If the socket didn’t fit right you weren’t going to go anywhere.
I was lucky my leg guy got it right , but then I didn’t know any different but for the most of the first year I went threw some huge changes , I started off with one thin cotton sock over my stump and then the stump would fit snugly into the socket , after a week I needed a thicker sock , then two sock and so on , when I got to four thick socks , my leg guy would line ( or pad out)the inside of my socket with leather and so I went back to one thin sock only to go threw the whole process again . Until my stump stopped shrinking this finally happened in the October (seven months after the start date)
Then I was re assessed.
Because I had asked, begged, pleaded constantly for a “faster” set up and had provided proof that I needed one for not only my work but my hill walking activates or I just got lucky I had the chance to test drive a new micro processor knee the “adaptive 2 ” again made by endolight with the elite foot, a top notch set up. But best of all I was recast for a new socket which would be held on by suction. So I no longer had to have that bloody awful Tess belt on.
But first it had to be set up right, not only the fit but the micro processor had to be tuned into me and my style of walking. At this stage my walking was more like a drunken sailor who just stepped on dry land for the first time in six months .so best of all they decided that I would see the phyisos at the centre and get some more serious gait training something that I took to like a duck taking to water.
Anyway the new knee was an all singing all dancing top of the range Adaptive two , However there was still a bit of tuning to do on it and a few snags that had to be worked out before it became standard, so part of the deal was that I would test it and report back to the manufacture and at the end of the trial it would be mine with the NHS taking over the upkeep.
My Adaptive 2 set up.
I won’t go into how good the leg was, (because we are all different) but combined with my new gait training things started to happen.
The Smart Adaptive knee (As it became known ) and Elite foot.
I had by now discovered the joy of walking , and discovered with care it was possible to start hiking again in my beloved Cheviots again , nothing major yet , just getting out there and practising was enough to start with , each time going that little bit further and doing hills that where that little bit higher . I suppose it was a confidence thing as well.
The knee unit, didn’t like me taking out into the hills and to start with would regularly fail , which resulted in a trip to my limb centre to see not only my leg guy but also the reps from endolight , who took it away asked lots of questions and returned it with the broken parts repaired . over a period of time the faults became fewer and the knee was given a upgrade and become the adaptive 2 and once again I set out to push both the knee and myself to breaking point . Occasionally I would get called into the centre so they could upgrade the micro processor in the knee and I would go off and play with the settings till I got it just right for me, I still kept breaking various bits and pieces but nowhere near as often as in the early days, likewise the endolight guys where really making big improvements on how the knee responded and I have to say the knee was really first class and did every thing it was meant to.
BUT it still didn’t like going out into hills with the wet damp conditions. Something that I think is /was a big mistake not making it waterproof. But like every thing it’s a trade off.
I tried several things myself but I didn’t really have that much success.
It was about this time that Endolight introduced there new knee unit the kx06 and I started pestering the limb centre for a second or s/by leg, according to the “rule” book I was entitled to one and much to my surprise they agreed straight away, so after taking a cast off my current socket (which was a good fit) I received my second or s/by leg this consisted of the new kx06 knee unit with the elite 2 foot held in place with a suction socket.
KX06 Knee with Elite 2 foot.
It was different. Walking in it was so different from the adaptive knee that I was use to but after the first few steps I knew that it was right for me.
Action shot in the lakes
Over the next six months or so I tested one knee out against the other, there was on doubt that the adaptive responded better, smoother, faster. But I felt more at home in the kx06.
I would go out testing them one set up against the other doing the same walk on different days wearing each leg in turn. I found that using the kx06 I felt much safer (if that’s the right word) and didn’t feel so knackered at the end of the walk. Plus I could get it wet and it would still function which is a huge advantage.
I decided to spit the time in both legs; the adaptive 2 would be my work leg and going out shopping, pub night out ECT ECT. And the kx06 would be my “outdoor” leg what I would use when hiking, camping ECT ECT.
This system worked very well and I had no more problems with the adaptive 2, which goes to show that it is a good knee but not for the great outdoors. the guys from Endolight must have thought so too because one day I got a call asking me to go to the limb centre where they where going to do the final upgrade on the adaptive which as it turned out to be a brand new all singing all dancing version of the knee unit which was going out as the “smart adaptive” and any future repairs would be met by the NHS at my limb centre.
So that was it I had two legs , one smart adaptive and one kx06 , and things stayed like that until the “smart adaptive” packed up , on returning it to the limb centre I was informed it was to costly to be fixed and that the limb centre couldn’t afford it . Eh! What!
Fortunately I managed to beg argue my case that I needed two legs and the guys from endolight agreed (or something) to swap the smart adaptive with another kx06 knee. Which is on paper a much cheaper knee, and I get to let the NHS fix both legs now.
I will go on to say that looking back , having two legs the same is a better system (for me) and as I spend as much time as I can outside in the hills and mountains I think that the kx06 knee is far better and I very happy with it .
Some basic info for setting up the knee
How does it compare with other knees? I don’t know.