Nature lover Peter De’Luce was walking in the Lake District in 2009 when he suffered a serious fall off Sharp Edge on Blencathra. When he fell he hit a large rock, causing the cartilage in his left knee to split and he was air lifted to Carlisle Hospital for immediate treatment. A subsequent surgery led to irreparable damage and his leg was amputated in 2013. Whilst the initial transition was a gruelling task, Peter has now found a new lease of life and can once again return to the activities he loves.
As a fit and active person with 8 years in the military followed by an interesting career as an electrical engineer, Peter had difficulties using the mechanical knees that were provided following his amputation. He suffered with the fear of falling over and lacked the confidence needed to do everyday activities, which led to feelings of depression and staying in his house for weeks at a time.
After developing a strong working relationship with his prosthetist Fergus Jepson at the Lancashire Teaching Hospital, Peter was offered the chance to try Ottobock’s C-Leg 4. With an active network of veteran friends thanks to his days in the army, Peter was already aware of the benefits offered by Microprocessor Controlled Knees (MPKs). From the moment he tried the C-Leg 4, the change was immeasurable.
“The minute I put the C-Leg on, I knew it would change my life; it was like a breath of fresh air because I could walk,” said Peter.
MPKs are designed to help amputees walk with a much more stable and efficient gait whilst reducing the chance of stumbles and falls. Launched in 1997 and in its fourth and most advanced incarnation, the C-Leg 4’s greatest strength is helping people achieve independence. Numerous features including real-time swing and stance phase control combined with strengthened stumble recovery support mean that the user can take every step with confidence. The new intuitive stance function recognises when the person has stopped and dampens the knee in a flexed position to offer maximum stability and comfort. Providing greater mobility, the C-Leg 4 adapts to all walking situations in real time, whether on level ground, stairs, ramps or varying surfaces. Walking backwards is closer to natural, anatomical movement than ever before.
Peter has begun exploring Britain’s countryside once again and has enjoyed regaining his active lifestyle. With increased confidence and stability, Peter is able to not only enjoy more challenging hikes; he is also able to chat to his son as they walk without worrying about potential falls. Peter explains, “I don’t have to think any more about the steps I take.”
Peter credits his new C-Leg with giving him a refreshed outlook, saying: “I now wake up every morning thinking about what I would like to do that day. It has opened up so many possibilities. Don’t hesitate, trial the C-Leg as soon as you can. It will change your life, as it did mine.”
Peter hopes that all amputees in the UK will learn about the NHS funding for microprocessor knees.
The C-Leg 4 is now available through NHS England. For more information, please download our guide at www.ottobock.co.uk or speak to your prosthetist.