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Your Healthy Family: Advances in artificial limbs are amazing

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In Minnesota Judd Yaeger is walking with a smooth stride that to the casual observer looks completely natural. In Minnesota Judd Yaeger is walking with a smooth stride that to the casual observer looks completely natural.

Many military veterans are hit with debilitating injuries costing them limbs.  There are some amazing developments happening when it comes to artificial limbs.

In Minnesota Judd Yaeger is walking with a smooth stride that to the casual observer looks completely natural.  When you consider he lives without one leg, his smooth gate is nothing short of a medical miracle.

Judd say’s, "It's as if I don't have an ankle that I don't need to physically move.  It moves for me."

The ankle is powered by a technology breakthrough, first unveiled 5 years ago says Michael Tillges, a certified prosthetic and orthotic practitioner.  "So this is the first time that the foot and ankle has been in the state of Minnesota in the region."

Erin Ninness is with Ottobock Prosthetis, who says the empower marks a new beginning, when it comes to combining mechanics with artificial limbs and joints.  “I would say it's like the iphone.  There's sensors, gyroscopes, hydraulics.  It helps them walk faster for a longer period of time. They're able to in real time adapt to different terrains.”

Tillges says the advantages when it comes to different terrains is where the empower shines.  "Propels amputee up and down hills, ramps, slopes, provides a propulsion for the amputee while walking."

For Judd, the feeling of walking with this new foot and ankle is more than something he remembers.  “This is actually easier than walking on my original left ankle.  It’s like the left ankle I was born with, it's cool."

Ottobock Prosthetics hopes to expand the empower into more markets in the future.

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