As the Civil War ended, the government recognized the need for prosthetic devices. Limbs made out of wood, metal, and leather were supplied to amputee Veterans in an effort to help them return to a sense of normalcy and independent living. As time progressed, so did the field of prosthetics.
In the late 1940’s, the University of California at Berkeley invented a suction socket for above-knee prostheses. Electrically powered devices, which made the use of prosthetics easier, became popular in the 1950s. Nearly 60 years later, electric signals from existing muscles can enable users to open and close life-like fingers. Artificial legs are fitted with spring-loaded feet and synthetic coverings can be made to match skin tones.
Now, as servicemembers return from Iraq and Afghanistan with life-altering injures, VA supports and develops highly advanced devices. The PowerFoot, a robotic limb, takes stress off the rest of the body making it more comfortable for the amputee to walk. It also replaces the function of lost muscles and can even generate power. Veterans now have the ability to walk faster, run, and participate in activities once considered out of reach.
The video above details how 21st century prosthetics allow amputee Veterans to achieve a better quality of life. For more information visit our Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service site.