Prosthetic Limbs

 

According to Harvard Business Review, a prosthetic leg in the U.S. costs more than $10,000. 1.7 billion people worldwide earn less than $2 a day. It would take a poor family 5,000 days of income, or 50 years of work, to afford a $10,000 product.

ALTSO provides prosthetic limbs free of charge to children – who receive less than 20% of rehabilitation services in the developing world – at an average cost of only $250. We cover 100% of their treatment costs – which includes rehabilitation and any requisite follow-up procedures to ensure treatment is effective.

Additionally, children between the ages of four and sixteen grow at an average rate of 0.75″ annually. A prosthetic replacement is needed typically every 6-12 months for children. On average, if a child becomes limb deficient at the age of 10, he/she will need approximately 18-25 limbs throughout the course of his/her lifetime.

 

3 Main Components of a Prosthetic Limb:

The Socket

Connects the residual limb to the mechanical support system (device).

The Extension

Acts as the replacement of the “length” of the missing limb (and may also incorporate a knee or elbow joint).

The Foot & Hand

Usually made from wood, plastic or carbon fiber.

The Process: Identification to Physical Therapy:

1

Identification

Physical and x-ray examinations are conducted to ensure natural bone structures are present. Unnatural bone structures can sometimes result in the need for surgical intervention.

2

Fitting

Prosthetic sockets are custom made to fit each child’s residual limb measurements.

3

Gait Training

Physical rehabilitation ensures proper gait alignment and prosthetic limb use.

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Clubfoot

 

The Deformity

Clubfoot is a congenital foot deformity characterized by feet turned inward and sometimes backward, which is caused by abnormal development of the muscles, tendons and bones in the foot while the fetus is forming during pregnancy.

Of the estimated 200,000 babies born with clubfoot a year, more than 80% live in the developing world, and most of these babies are left untreated or receive inadequate care. ALTSO’s programs use the minimally-invasive and 95% effective Ponseti technique to straighten the feet of patients at an average cost of $400. The brace that is used to prevent reoccurrence is only $25.

 

The Ponseti Method of Clubfoot Correction

The Ponseti method of clubfoot correction was developed over 50 years ago by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti.  It involves a minimally invasive surgical procedure to release the tendon, followed by a series of gentle manual manipulations of the child’s foot, the application of plaster casts to retain the degree of correction and soften the ligaments, and bracing to avoid recurrence.  The Ponseti method is effective in 95% of clubfoot cases and is rapidly becoming recognized as the least invasive and most economic method of clubfoot correction. This method is the most highly recommended technique for the developing world because of its cost-efficiency, effectiveness, and ability to be taught to a wide range of health care providers, including therapists and orthopedic assistants.

 

Surgical Correction of Clubfoot

Neglected clubfoot occurs when the deformity is not promptly diagnosed and corrected appropriately; the Ponseti technique should only be used until the age of 2. Because few developing countries have either screening or treatment programs, neglected clubfoot is one of the most common causes of physical disability in the developing world. The only treatment available to a patient with neglected clubfoot is surgical, which is more expensive and less effective.

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Corrective Surgery

 

Corrective surgery corrects or manages impairment, controls pain, maximizes movement, balance and coordination, increases functionality and optimizes independence. Orthopedic surgery focuses on improving mobility and body movement, such as:

Fine Motor Skills

hand, wrists, finger, foot, ankles, toes, lip, and tongue movements

Gross Motor Skills

sitting, standing, crawling, walking, running, wheeled mobility, and adapted mobility

Balance & Coordination

head control, trunk control, posture, and standing

99% of children in the developing world in need of surgical care will never receive treatment simply because they are too poor to afford it. ALTSO identifies children through local community outreach programs to provide free surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation until the age of 18 – at an average cost of only $500 per child.


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