Ottobock Academy UK

Alan Gordon - Prosthetics Academy UK

As a member of the Academy I support and train clinicians around the country in fitting Ottobock prostheses and componentry.

I graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2009 with a BSc. Hons. degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics. This has enabled me to follow my interest into Prosthetics. I initially began working in Oxford Centre for Enablement later moved to Bristol Centre for Enablement. During my time in Bristol I developed my career by taking on the role of Clinical Lead. Where I had the opportunity to support colleagues and students during this time and provide CAD training for the company which gave me a sense of the role and importance of education.

In both these Prosthetics clinics I had exposure to a wide variety of patients treating lower and upper limb. Improving my knowledge and understanding of socket technologies. In 2013, Bristol was nominated by the government as a Murrison centre, as a result veterans were able to transfer from DMRC Headley Court. This allowed me to work with patients who had suffered complex trauma and often multiple limb loss already with specialist interventions. The aim to achieve physical independence at the highest level possible and it was from there I really became interested in the advanced componentry including mechatronic knees. It allowed me to see the benefit of advanced componentry and the capabilities it has to allow people to return to a high level of functionality.

With the NHS MPK funding in 2016, this provided a turning point in Prosthetics. Now more people than ever with the UK can access this advanced technology. Prior to working for Ottobock I’d fitted many MPKs including X3s, Geniums and C-leg’s on the NHS MPK policy. Which was a great opportunity to see the benefits these knees can make to patients quality of lives.

Within my role now I get to meet more people who are trying MPKs for the first time. Providing education and assistance to the Prosthetists to achieve a positive outcome. As I travel around the country we continue to hear great stories of how the C-leg 4 is changing their lives. Within a short period of time trying the C-leg 4 it is amazing to hear how patients are feeling more confident and able to face stairs, slopes and terrain like never before.

Reduction of stumbles and improving confidence is one of the key benefits of the C-leg 4. The C-leg 4 already has inherent stability in that the stance resistance is active as default however in the swing phase the developers came up with a ingeniously simple solution. As stumbles take milliseconds to occur having a sensor to monitor for this and respond leads to delay. Instead the C-leg 4 has stumble recover active on every step, so no reaction time. Once the knee reaches its optimal swing flexion angle and begins to extend, instead of reducing, the flexion resistance increases. If someone stumbles it is there for them and in turn the extension valve opens reducing the resistance and allowing them to get out of the compromised position.

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