New Prosthetic Leg More Closely Recreates Ankle Movement

May 24, 2016

Jason Schroeder is praising a new prosthetic leg with a motorized, flexing ankle that distinguishes it from others that he has used.

“I have quite the collection,” explains the 45-year-old Schroeder, of Colona, Illinois. “One for every occasion. Water skiing, snow skiing, running."

Schroeder had to make the amputation decision in 2005 after a rail car crushed his left foot.

“So we went in,” he said, “decided to amputate the leg, about nine inches below the knee.”

Following that decision, he paired his research for the proper prosthetic with a search for a compatible prosthetist. His recently acquired BiOM Ankle was fitted by Iowa City’s Hanger Clinic.

The battery-powered, flexing ankle allows Schroeder to walk comfortably up inclines, such as the grassy hill he climbed while demonstrating his agility for television news cameras.

The electric motor provides replaces the power usually supplied by leg muscles.

The electric motor on Schroeder's prosthetic leg provides the power that would normally be supplied by leg muscles.
Credit Dean Borg/IPR

“The power boost works fantastic,” he said.  “I go up stairs. I lay my toes on the stairs first. It gets that boost. It just throws my left leg to the next step.”

The BiOM Ankle prosthetic’s list price is $69,000, but health insurers negotiate individual prices. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs may also be providing the prosthetic to military amputees.