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Innovations in Health Care

Advanced Tech Helps Limb Loss Patients to Regain a Sense of Freedom

woman with prosthetic leg walking in the ocean
Sponsored by:
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woman with prosthetic leg walking in the ocean
Sponsored by:

Limb Loss Awareness Month offers the perfect backdrop to showcase the advancements being made in prosthetics and how patients are being empowered.

Prosthetics have come a long way in the last 100 years. From wooden legs to modern, computerized advancements, today’s technical orthopedics give those with limited mobility a chance to regain their freedom of movement. Much like the customers it serves, orthopedics is a field that has faced challenges head-on, and as a result, has introduced products that are quite literally changing lives.


Ottobock has been at the helm of this industry for over a century, developing cutting-edge innovations since its inception in 1919. A family-run organization, Ottobock has grown to a company of over 8,000 employees with a presence in over 130 countries and an internationally renowned reputation as the world leader in technological orthopedics.

Established expertise

Founded by German prosthetist Otto Bock, the Berlin-based company was born amid the ruins of the first world war, helping to support the increased number of amputees. Despite a tumultuous environment, Otto Bock remained committed to the company’s growth and, in 1958, the company opened its first foreign subsidiary in Minneapolis, U.S. Since then, Ottobock has continued its international growth, remaining true to its core goal: to promote freedom of movement, quality of life, and independence.

Those with limited mobility face unique, frustrating challenges. Seemingly mundane, everyday tasks can be a struggle, and the mental health impacts that can accompany the physical symptoms add an extra layer to already-complex living.

For Ottobock, the aim has always been to create prosthetics and orthopedics technology that help alleviate some of this tension, giving patients a chance at regaining their freedom of movement. It’s a goal that can only be achieved through continued innovation. “We’re always trying to improve our products so our patients can get back to the best life possible,” says Mick Pearce, Senior Manager of Professional and Clinical Services for Ottobock in Canada. 

An era of innovation

Ottobock has been a driving force in technological orthopedics, having spearheaded many ground-breaking technologies revolutionizing the industry. In 1949, the company introduced the Jupa Knee-Shin, which offers users a brake mechanism and stance stability. In 1965, it began using myoelectrics, electrodes that help users grasp both light and heavy objects, and in 1969, it launched the modular system, which remains an integrative element for innovative joints to this day. 

Perhaps most notably, however, was the organization’s role in bringing the C-Leg to market in 1997. Designed by Canadian Kelly James, the C-Leg was the world’s first microprocessor-controlled knee joint and used sensors, software, and built-in computers to help users achieve a smoother, near natural gait. “It allowed people to walk safely and opened their world. Suddenly, they could focus on their surroundings rather than looking at their feet,” says Pearce.

Microprocessors have since opened doors to the seemingly unachievable, and the industry has leveraged these advancements to create more customizable prosthetic and orthotic options. Ottobock’s C-Brace has revolutionized treatment for people with symptoms of paralysis, using microprocessors to better control stance and gait. Similarly, Ottobock’s Genium X3 -Microprocessor Knee Joint now gives users the ability to tackle activities once considered impossible, from hurdling to swimming.

Opening new doors

April is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month and with it comes a chance to recognize the incredible achievements by those living with limited mobility. Advancements in prosthetics simply act as a tool to help these patients tap into their own strength, removing barriers and helping them live a fulfilling life. From running marathons to hiking mountains, while prosthetic innovations play a role, it’s the fortitude of those living with limited mobility that’s truly remarkable. As these patients continue to push their own boundaries, Ottobock is committed to doing the same. As Pearce says, “Ottobock has never stood still. We keep moving forward.”  

To trial an Ottobock product, patients are encouraged to work with its prosthetist or orthotist and to visit for more details.

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