Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO)
A Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) or Knee-Ankle-Foot Brace is a long-leg orthosis that spans the knee, ankle and foot in an attempt to stabilise the joints and support the leg muscles.
While there are several common indications for the Knee-Ankle-Foot Brace (KAFO), muscle weakness and paralysis of the leg are most frequently identified. The most common causes of muscle weakness include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
Until recently, a KAFO with a locked knee joint was the most suitable treatment for muscle weakness of the knee; providing stability to the knee in order to prevent involuntary flexion. However, wearing this type of KAFO has its drawbacks, including muscle atrophy and increased energy expenditure in maintaining a correct gait.
Hence, the KAFO design was recently upgraded to incorporate a knee joint that automatically locks and unlocks at the appropriate phases of the gait cycle to enable a smoother walking style. This type of knee joint is used in treatment involving certain criteria.
Each KAFO is custom-made to individual requirements. There are a number of design options available that ensure that this type of orthosis is both functional and comfortable. A thorough examination and assessment of the condition in question helps determine the most appropriate combination of components used.
The E-Mag Active is an electronic stance control KAFO that automatically calibrates according to walking style. The E-Mag Active can be recalibrated to cater for changes in gait that occur over time.
The stance control function remains locked during weight bearing and unlocks during the swing phase of walking; simplifying gait training and allowing for varied cadence.
A built-in gyroscope monitors gait pattern. During the fitting process, the E-Mag Active’s self-calibrating feature enables gait pattern recognition.
- Stance control enables users to achieve a more natural gait, thereby reducing compensatory movements that can lead to degenerative conditions, excess energy expenditure and non-compliance.
- The gyroscope monitors the orientation of the limb (heel off, heel strike, etc.).
- Extraordinarily simple calibration enables the orthosis to customize the unlocking feature during the fitting process.
- Varied flexion angled joints can be used to ease locking/unlocking of the orthotic knee joint.
- Optimal manual locking/unlocking function ensures that moving from a standing to a sitting position is a lot easier and increases security over uneven terrain.
- Allows any preferred ankle joint to be fitted onto the
- Does not require minimum ankle range of motion to achieve stance control function.
- Accommodates up to 15° knee flexion contracture in conjunction with dorsal stop at ankle.
- Ideal for paralysis/paresis of the knee extensors.
- Suitable for hip extensors and flexors of muscle strength grades 3 and 5.
- Accommodates up to 15° genuvarum/valgum.
- Suitable for a weight of up to 187 lbs/85kgs.
- Possesses a clear understanding and ability of how to operate the joint.
The E-Mag Control is the first knee joint system to feature an electronically controlled lock that can be activated using a remote control device, which provides increased safety and confidence.
- Conventional knee joint systems require manual locking and unlocking of the knee joint. As a result, the knee becomes unstable when the lock is released and the sudden unnatural movement causes an unsafe standing position.
- The E-Mag Control knee joint system provides a completely stable stance. Using the remote control device, which can either be operated as a handheld unit, or adapted to fit into a crutch, the lock can be activated with the press of a button. With the E-Mag Control knee system, one can support oneself with both arms and stand safely at all times.
- The E-Mag Control specially designed feedback system alerts the wearer when the joint is activated.
- When wearing an orthosis, most falls occur when the knee joint fails to engage upon standing. To provide additional support to the wearer, the E-Mag Control includes an integrated feedback function that, upon extending the knee joint, signals to the wearer that the knee joint is stable once the joint is locked. Thus, the E-Mag Control knee joint locking system is completely reliable in that the integrated feedback function ensures that the wearer is alerted to the position of the knee joint at all times.
Discreet – remains undetected
The E-Mag Control remote control device is completely discreet in that operation remains undetected. The system’s closed design ensures that clothing does not get caught in the orthosis, and it cannot be accidentally activated due to external disturbances such as bumps or knocks. Even in confined spaces, the system significantly increases confidence while walking.
The E-Mag Control knee joint system is suitable for:
- Post-polio syndrome
- Failure or weakness of knee extensors.
N.B. This orthotic device cannot be used if the wearer is unable to extend the E-Mag Control knee joint that activates the lock.
Assessment of the viability of the E-Mag Control knee joint as a suitable option should be carried out in consultation with a registered orthopedic technician.
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