Vet Walks With Bionic Foot

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 9:51am

New prosthetic ankle helps amputee get back on his feet.

A Mississippi man is the first to receive one of the most advanced prosthetics through the Jackson VA Hospital.

Vietnam Veteran Steve Hendricks took the first steps on his bionic foot Thursday.

Hendricks lost part of his leg in 2000 to a blood clot.

The prosthetic foot was developed by the company I-Walk.

"It's the first ankle on the market it actually give you powered plantar friction so what it does for the amputee it replaces their calf muscles and Achilles tendon," says I-Walk spokeswoman Donna Samocha.

The ankle is battery powered.

It's good for about three hours of walking on each charge, and it's programmed specifically for it's user, then calibrated by Bluetooth through an Android phone.

After a few adjustments Hendricks was up and moving faster than he has in the last ten years.

"This is a real foot, the way it rolls, it's computerized so when I get ready to take the next step it throws my foot out there for me," Hendricks said. "When I'm walking on it, it's weightless. With the stationary foot all the impact was on my knee so every time I took a step going up an incline or a steep one I had to go on my toe, when I came down I had to go on my heel, this I just walk like a regular foot. There's no pressure on my knee it's amazing."

The bionic ankle gives it's user 100% power, where other prosthetics can only give about 50%.

Hendricks is gaining more confidence with every step he takes, and hopes to encourage other amputee vets as they struggle to get back on their feet.

"I just want to be a hope and inspiration for all combat veterans who come back disabled but don't give up, don't give up," said Hendricks.
 

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