Crowborough woman makes history with new prosthetic leg

DSC_0722 SUS-150929-112716001
DSC_0722 SUS-150929-112716001

A Crowborough woman is the first in the UK to be fitted with a groundbreaking new prosthetic leg meaning she can run, ride a bike or even dance if she wants to and - most important she says - walk backwards.

Lorraine Pooley, 45 from Croft Road lost her right leg above the knee shortly after her 21st birthday in 1991 after an accident with a motorbike.

Shortly afterwards she was given her first-ever prosthetic leg but, like so many at the time, found it heavy and cumbersome. Through all the challenges she’s had to face, she focused on reclaiming her determination and getting back to the active lifestyle she enjoyed.

Matthew Hughes, clinic manager at Dorset Orthopaedic fitted Lorraine with the new, improved C-Leg 4. This fourth generation of the first-ever computer controlled leg is now being adjusted to suit her and she is eager to get back to her full pre-accident fitness including trekking around the world and competing in half-marathons.

She said: “Ever since the accident, I have always kept up to date with the latest technology. I want to make sure I have technology that can support what I want to do; I thought that way, I can do more and be more active. Without the technology I’ve used, I would not have achieved what I have done in my life so far.”

Lorraine has trekked across Nicaragua and run half-marathons but says none of those compare with the energy she needs caring for her three grown up children and two foster children. She told the Express: “I can’t believe you’re talking to me now - it used to be my family’s sporting achievements that were in the paper!”

The new leg contains an onboard computer which analyses stresses and the speed of a swinging knee. If the wearer is walking fast or running the knee must swing quickly to ensure it is in the proper position for heel contact - for slower walking it must swing at a lower speed. The microprocessor programmes the knee so it is always swinging at the appropriate speed and instantaneously adjusts resistance to the knee if the wearer speeds up or slows down.

Matthew Hughes went on: “Lorraine is a great candidate for the new C-Leg 4. She is active and will really benefit from additional features such as intuitive locking. We’ve also created a new bespoke silicone socket complete with a pre-preg carbon fibre frame. This increases comfort, reduces bulk and weight and has swing phase control fuelled by 3D motion analysis and recovery support if Lorraine stumbles and can be adjusted to meet her requirements.

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