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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Is an electronic knee worth it for me?

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I use the 'ultimate knee' from ortho Europe a conventional hydraulic yielding knee. I do ok and walk without sticks and am quite active playing golf and archery and getting about. My prosthetist has always said that an electronic knee would not help me and of course I couldn't get one on the health service I would have to pay.

I saw my consultant recently and he suggested that a different knee might help my rehabilitation. Though both the consultant and prosthetist hedge their opinions with "it maybe", or "some people find" there does seem a little difference between them.

I read another post on this site which made me wonder what people thought and wether if I funded it myself it would be worth doing (I'm not rich so this would be a big thing for me).

I suppose if they are safer I might try and do more adventurous things without fear of falling which of course is in my mind now. But the other post suggests it would make walking less effort.

What do you think?

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"of course I couldn't get one on the health service I would have to pay."

Not true.... If you make the case, and your NHS trust have the money, there's no reason why you can't get an electronically controlled knee from the NHS.

It will depend on your consultant ultimately, but it sounds like he's halfway there already.

Gather evidence from the web and anywhere you can, write to the manufacturers asking if they have any independant evidence of how their limb improves the user's life. Make the case and write a letter to your consultant requesting one, giving your reasons why you should be considered. The fact you play golf and sound relatively active is good, and will work in your favour. It sounds to me that you should be able to make a good case for a new leg on the NHS.

Possible benfits that may come up include, energy saving, larger range of speeds for walking, subsequent increased activity for a healthier life, improved gait resulting in reduced excess loading on other parts of the body etc.

If you can prove that you could improve your lot, and get the best out of one, you should get one, simple as that.

I certainly wouldn't consider going private until you've tried through this route.

Good luck.

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"of course I couldn't get one on the health service I would have to pay."

Not true.... If you make the case, and your NHS trust have the money, there's no reason why you can't get an electronically controlled knee from the NHS.

It will depend on your consultant ultimately, but it sounds like he's halfway there already.

Gather evidence from the web and anywhere you can, write to the manufacturers asking if they have any independant evidence of how their limb improves the user's life. Make the case and write a letter to your consultant requesting one, giving your reasons why you should be considered. The fact you play golf and sound relatively active is good, and will work in your favour. It sounds to me that you should be able to make a good case for a new leg on the NHS.

Possible benfits that may come up include, energy saving, larger range of speeds for walking, subsequent increased activity for a healthier life, improved gait resulting in reduced excess loading on other parts of the body etc.

If you can prove that you could improve your lot, and get the best out of one, you should get one, simple as that.

I certainly wouldn't consider going private until you've tried through this route.

Good luck.

By the way, if you fail the first time, don't give up.... maybe even try and find out when their budget year finishes, they may be more financially able at the beginning or end of a particular year, timing of your request could be important.

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I think in the UK there is a significant postcode lottery. There is no one at my rehab centre (Brighton) with a C-leg or Rheo. But you go to Portsmouth there are some more fortunate guys who have c-legs - but at a recent bash I heared that was being stopped. At Roehampton , I have seen loads!

I was told that there NO WAY I would get a C-leg from the NHS (from my rehab centre). What blue -leg says is I am sure correct if you can muster the troops.

I went to Roehampton for a second opinion on a clinical rather than prostheitc issue. I was fortunate to have a session with the senior consultant there. After happily closing out the clinical side asked about the benefits of going electronic. His view was that they were LX is better but say only 10% better than a well set up quality standard unit. My experience ties in with that view.

I have a Mauch with an elation foot and a good comfortbale socket from the NHS. It is excellent.

I have a private Rheo and renegade foot, the socket is not so good (stump is very different from a year ago). Notice the benefit most on stairs and slopes.

Out of choice I use the NHS in the gym.

I need to find a few £000 for a new private socket. Maintenance needs to be considered too, if going private.

One-blue-leg, do have electronic from the NHS?

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I have had an ENDOLITE IP+ on the NHS... I've also made a case for a turntable whch isn't standard fitting, and I've had a pegleg made for when I used to go waterskiing (just to be waterproof for access to the water), so I have experience of convincing my clinicians to supply me with more than the standard kit.

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thanks blue!

I too could have had the IP+ through NHS without any problems, hassle or pushing. I had one for 6 weeks but personally prefer the Mauch.

in the endolite range I think the adaptive is closer in spec to the C or Rheo and is a lot more money.

I will also be getting a water activtiy leg (swimming/sailing)

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hi all,

ok - will someone out there please answer me a question from the following scenario.

an above knee amputee left leg, mid thirtys, amputee for 10yrs RTA, strong and well fit and able uses the best hydraulic knee the nhs will fund - lets say its the latest new XG mauch or the latest new 3R80 with the best foot and good fitting socket - you get the picture, right my question is this - what more/extra will the amputee be able to do/achieve if he was fitted with the expensive c-leg?

i ask this because from what i have read, researched, asked previously and had answered by the nhs and private sector when presented with the same question is NOUT!!, yet so many of us are made to feel the answer to our mobility issues are beyond out reach - the c-leg.

don't get me wrong, the c-leg is a good knee and if its free via nhs or insurance then fine or if you have special needs like extra safety issues or frailty etc then again ok, but i just want to know what other "real" benefits splashing out 30K will get us

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As it stands when set up correctly the C/Rheo is 10% better than the Mauch.

I have a choice but 'till I save for a new socket, at present I am tending to prefer the Mauch!! There is nothing it does not do OK. I am weraing the Rheo today.

I enjoy Hi-Fi. I have a class A valve amp, Spendor speakers linn deck etc worth several £k. Is it 5 times better than one at a 5th of the money NO! Is it significantly better YES Would I spnd £30k on a HiFi NO. It is a question of diminishing returns.

Is the C/rheo better YES, Is it worth £20K, well to me it it is not twice as good as the NHS kit.

I wanted the best that was available, and was fortunate to be able to follow that route.

hope it helps - call me to chat if you like

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Is the C/rheo better YES

I would dispute that. It depends what 'better' means. And that depends on what you require.

For instance, if you needed a out and out high activity knee for running, the c-leg would be worse than a mauch. For a fit active amoputee like Gaza, I'd say the c-leg might in fact not be a good as the the basic hydraulic unit, for the rigours of everyday use, and in fact may encourage atrophy, by comparison.

I guess that answers what my opinion is of the answer to your question Gaza.

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Every one is different

What works for me isn't right for someone else.

oneblueleg has been an amputee for a lot longer than me. I have found his advice to be excellent in the past and would not disagree with him

I am cycling round Holland in May - I have not decided which leg will serve me best. on the bike the mauch in free mode whilst walking around the Rheo...

I think what I have is an excellent mix. Starting again would I spend the money ..YES.

I missed out not being able to trial different private knees and feet. That was a bad move; so might have gone for a different mix.

Another reason for the electronic is I believe that it places far less strain on the body as a whole. Given the poor state of my left leg I think it is a good reason to go advanced. If I wear out in 10 rather than 5 years than it is worth the investement. A bit of damage limitation! I had forgotten about this reason

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oneblueleg has been an amputee for a lot longer than me. I have found his advice to be excellent in the past and would not disagree with him

Blimey! ... very kind of you Derek, I feel honoured, though I prefer an argument as I'm sure people may will you... ;)

You've hit the nail on the head though, we're all different, and all of our experiences are of value to someone, and add to the overall knowledge base.

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Hello GT,

I have an electronic knee, via the nhs and I didn’t even ask for one, in fact at the time I didn’t even know about them, so I wouldn’t go down the private funding route without asking first, but it seems to me to be a bit of a post code lottery as to weather you get one or not.

Will it help you in your day to day life? I’m not going to answer that head on but will give you some of my personal experiences and let you decide from that. As it’s the age old question is it the knee (leg) or is it the person driving it.

Ever since my RTA (3 ½ years) I have really pushed to get back out hiking up the hills, with my first leg (normal hydraulic) leg I found it really hard work and towards the end of the hikes I was totally knackered, now days if I do the same hike I get back and find that I have done it quicker, with not so many rest stops and have loads of energy left. Now I could clame it is because of the leg (electronic) or is it that that im that much fitter and better at walking now than what I was a couple of years ago? In other words is it because of the knee or me? I really wouldn’t like to say ether way.

Another example is when I’m at work (I do 12 hour shifts in a power station) after a really long hard shift my walking gate used to go downhill fast and I would be “waddling & leaning to the left every other step” which lead to my back aching ect , now days this just doesn’t happen.

I’m not saying that my walking gait is good or anything as for me its about getting around at what speed I want, when I want, over any type of terrain. And doing it without any trips slips or falls.

I know this isn’t really any help but I have nothing to compare it with now but feel free to pm me with any questions that you might have and I will do my utmost to answer them with what I know not with what I think.

Take care ……………..Mick

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