This is huge for our "above the knee" guys!
Combat Vets Get Better Knees
Thursday, 10 Dec 2009, 6:29 PM EST
By JOHN HENREHAN/myfoxdc
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Combat veterans who have lost one of their legs are getting new, improved prosthetic knees at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
The new device is called the X-2, and it contains a microprocessor that can adjust the range of motion and stiffness.
"It's the first microprocessor knee specifically designed to be run on," explained prosthetist John Warren.
"The patient can take their everyday walking foot, switch it on for the running foot, and they have a completely safe knee joint with which to run on. So, that's actually pretty revolutionary."
Army Staff Sgt. Alfredo De los santos, who had a conventional prosthetic leg, complained that he would favor his intact limb while standing.
"I was constantly getting knee pain," in his good leg from overuse, according to De los santos. "And my back was killing me."
With the X-2, De los santos says he is standing equally on both legs, and the pain is greatly reduced.
Researchers at Walter Reed say out of 949 patients with major limb loss, prosthetics have allowed 141 of them to return to active duty, and more than 42 amputees have gone back into the theater of combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
That's the goal of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Wilson, who is also sporting a new X-2 artificial knee. Asked if he can be a combat Marine, Wilson answers immediately: "Yes, absolutely."
The new microprocessor-enabled X-2 knee is expected to be widely available for amputees sometime in 2011.