TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Ignacio Guerrero has a new spring in his step these days. It's thanks to a new addition that makes him feel sort of like a bionic man.
The 68-year old recently became the first person in Kansas to receive the new "elan" prosthetic foot.
Guerrero lost his left leg below the knee four years ago due to complications from diabetes. At first, he used a wheelchair and walker to get around, but he says it was difficult. A regular prosthesis made it a bit better, but he says he still needed a cane in many areas. He also often lost his balance. He recalls once stumbling as he climbed the bleachers at his grandson's football game, grabbing a woman in the crowd to keep from falling.
He started finding himself back on steady ground about a month ago, when he received the new "elan" micro-processor controlled prosthetic foot.
Tyrone Monroe, CP, with Hanger Clinic, says a traditional prosthetic has carbon fiber springs set at one level, so they move one way. In the elan, once Monroe adjusts the microprocessors for Guerrero's body, tilt, angle and force sensors will make the prosthesis respond much like a real foot would. In real time, Monroe says, the foot will react to the terrain and to the movements to provide a better sense of fluid movement and stability.
The elan works in concert with the V Hold system. It holds the limb onto the leg using a vacuum suction which also can adjust for a person's movements and even barometric pressure.
It adds up to a comfortable fit with a new sense of balance and stability that has Ignacio enjoying his grandson's activities a whole lot more. He says he finds stairs easier to climb and is walking more quickly, which makes it easier to keep up with his wife when they hit the stores!
The Elan does need to be recharged each night and there is a set of criteria a person must meet to be considered for it.