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LC Knee

The LC KneeTM or Low Cost Knee is a new prosthetic knee joint for individuals with above-knee amputation. It is based on the novel ASPL (Automatic Stance-Phase Lock) technology.

The ASPL mechanism provides stance-phase control including a securely locked knee during weight-bearing. The knee automatically unlocks for swing-phase to provide gait that is safe, efficient and aesthetic. 
LC Knee
While the simple design and polymer construction allow it to be used in harsh environments and for activities in the water. The unique control mechanism supports high-level activity on land.

The LCKneeTM is undergoing clinical and product evaluations in Canada, Germany, El Salvador, Chile, India and Myanmar, and as such it is not yet commercially available.

Background


For individuals with a trans-femoral amputation, the prevalent function of the prosthetic knee joint is its ability to provide stance-phase control and to facilitate a more natural gait. Although a variety of commercially available knee joints provide such function, many use complex mechanisms that are too costly for general use. Conversely, simple, lower-cost knee joints provide only crude stance-phase control, and therefore do not facilitate gait that is aesthetic, functional, efficient and safe.

 

Technology

The LC Knee™ utilizes a proprietary stance-phase control mechanism, termed the ‘automatic stance-phase lock’ or ASPL. It is composed of a knee lock that is automatically engaged as the knee becomes fully extended thus preventing the knee from bending. A combination of a hip flexion moment and loading of the forefoot unlocks the knee. This is a natural sequence of events that occurs at each step of walking and allows the knee to be stable as needed while facilitating natural swing-phase flexion.
Diagrams of the LC Knee in action 

The simple mechanism and fiber-reinforced polymer construction results in a highly durable and reliable design requiring minimal maintenance and repairs. Also, in contrast to most other prosthetic knees on the market the LC Knee™ can be used in water and wet environments without being damaged.

Applications

The LC Knee™ has been under development since 2007. During this time, it has been evaluated with unilateral transfemoral amputees in Canada, Germany, El Salvador, India, Chile and Myanmar.  The knees have been shown to work well for extended periods of more than 2 years when used on a daily basis under real-life conditions. The LC Knee™ appears to best suited for physically active individuals who are or have the potential to be strong community ambulators. So far, two potential markets for the LC Knee™ have been identified.

The LC Knee™ is functional, durable, ease to install and operate, requires minimal maintenance, and is not damaged by harsh environmental conditions such as water or dirt. It is also affordable, with a target price of $100. These attributes make the LC Knee™ suitable for use in many under-resourced countries. To determine the appropriateness and potential of the technology, clinical testing is ongoing in a number of low income countries. These same features also make the knee highly suitable for use in recreational activities involving water, as part of a secondary prosthesis for users in developed countries. A need exists since most commercial prosthetic knee joints become damaged when exposed to water, costing $1000’s to replace or repair. Conversely, prosthetic knee joints that are available and designed for use in water do not provide stance-phase control and therefore result in very limited mobility function.  The LC Knee™ offers good function on land and in water, at an affordable price.     

Patents

The technology is patented in Canada and the United States. CA2688458 and US7918898.

Opportunities

At this time we are interested in exploring potential partnerships with companies and P&O organizations around manufacturing and distribution of this promising technology.  

For more information

Please find attached flyer or contact Jan Andrysek at Jan.Andrysek@utoronto.ca.

Learn more

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2012 Circle of Honour award winner - Jan Andrysek