Today was a big day as I started my trial period for an MPK. For those who I have not bored to death already on this subject, MPK stands for Microprocessor Knee.
I have so far been learning to walk on a mechanical knee, where the knee joint is effectively replaced by a simple mechanical hinge. An MPK, on the other hand, contains an internal computer with sensors which monitor how you walk. As it monitors, it can make adjustments to the resistance in the knee joint, just like the muscles in an anatomical knee would do, allowing you to walk much more naturally and much more safely.
Today was mostly spent walking up and down the bars so the knee could ‘learn’ my own individual natural walking pattern. This was followed by some physio, where we practiced walking with sticks, as I have been doing previously. The issue with using sticks or crutches with an MPK however, is that you are allowing your upper body to take some of your weight, so you do not fully weight bear on the leg. This means that the sensors in the knee can become confused as to whether you are taking a step or in fact stumbling. The result is a sort of frozen judder as it tries to protect you from falling! So in order to enjoy the true benefit of the MPK, it is essential to lose the sticks and trust the leg! This is a scary prospect right now but that is the goal we have set.
For the next week, I am to continue practicing walking with sticks and to focus on distributing my weight evenly on both legs using the App (yes APP!) which connects to the leg via bluetooth. I am currently recharging my batteries whilst my leg recharges its battery and hopefully tomorrow we will both have enough charge to make some progress.
Knees like this are obviously extremely expensive and have only recently become available on the NHS, with a number of eligibility criteria. So I feel very fortunate to have had one made available to me. Hopefully by the end of the trial period I will have experienced some benefit!
#amputee #prostheticleg #mpk #rheokneexc #ossurcorp #lifewithoutlimitations