The new C-Leg
Media information

C-Leg lower limb prosthesis

Ottobock is celebrating a quarter century of the C-Leg

A milestone for people with prosthetic legs

The C-Leg is a prosthesis for people with a limb difference or who have lost their leg due to an accident or a disease such as cancer. With it, thousands of users have been able to walk again for the first time, as if with healthy legs. A small computer in the prosthesis ensures this: The microprocessor turns data collected by sensors into digital control commands. Thus the prosthesis automatically sets the appropriate gait for the respective environment. Walking on stairs, level streets or gradients becomes intuitive for users without having to think about the next step.

The new C-Leg: Safe, intuitive, customisable

Twenty-five years of continuous research and user requests have been incorporated in the latest update: An exchangeable, paintable cover now allows you to create your own designs. Equipped with stumble recovery Plus, the joint is also even safer. Support for going down ramps and stairs step-over-step ensures an even more natural, safer gait.

The C-Leg story in bullet points

  • Customisable design: The users spoke, we listened: The new C-Leg gets a new look and new functions – inspired by wearers. The new C-Leg gets a new colour variant with Midnight Shadow next to Desert Pearl. There is also a customisable shield insert (cover) with instructions for painting and designing it yourself.
  • Stumble recovery Plus: The increased resistance compared to the stance phase is active during the entire swing phase. As a result, the new C-Leg helps to prevent falls even more effectively.
  • Even safer and more natural: The improved supported descent of ramps and stairs ensures a safe, natural gait. Sitting support ensures controlled, smooth sitting down. The intuitive stance function detects from the movement when users want to stand relaxed and when they need support for the next step.
  • MyMode Plus: Users can configure even more settings using their smartphone in order to optimally adapt the C-Leg: Whereas previously only settings in the flexion direction could be adjusted in MyMode Plus, settings in the flexion and extension direction can now be configured in MyMode Plus.
  • Simplified training: A new training function helps users get used to the new joint and get the best out of their microprocessor knee. Acoustic feedback helps to initiate the swing phase correctly.
  • Simplified charging: The new C-Leg is easy to charge with one hand. Sleep mode that can be selected in the cockpit app ensures a longer battery life when the joint is not active, for example, while sitting.
  • Digital: Software changes improve user-friendliness for O&P professionals. New video tutorials simplify handling of the prosthesis and provide expert knowledge. In addition, the software provides suggestions for setting values, appropriate for the respective user, which technicians can adopt, adjust or configure entirely themselves.
Rebecca Brunner painting.
Rebecca Brunner (Credit: Ottobock)
Interview Rebecca Brunner

"My prosthesis is a great eye-catcher"

Fashion student Rebecca Brunner from Austria lost her left leg in a moped accident. accident. She thinks it is important that her prosthesis is not perceived as something negative. Immediately after the first fitting she began to paint it: "With the adjustable protective shield I can play with colors and motifs," says the 21-year-old. She dedicated her final project "Game of life" to individual prosthesis designs: "If you're already in a situation that you can't change, you can at least make the best of it. My C-Leg has thus become a part of my personality!"

To the interview

Andreas Hogh, Industrial Designer Systems Engineering from Ottobock Wien
Andreas Hogh, Industrial Designer Systems Engineering at Ottobock Vienna and his draft of the new C-Leg design. (Credit: Andreas Hogh / Ottobock)
Interview with Ottobock Designer Andreas Hogh

Prostheses design: “Expressing personality is a deeply rooted need.”

Twenty-five years ago, Ottobock launched the first computer-controlled leg prosthesis in the market: The C-Leg. It sets standards to this day – also in terms of its design. The design came from design agencies for a long time. Today, more in-house designers are developing the characteristic look of Ottobock prostheses. Among them is the industrial designer Andreas Hogh from Vienna. He is involved in the design of prostheses such as the latest C-Leg update, which will be launched on 10 May 2022. In this interview, he talks about what matters, how the appearance has changed over time and how prosthetic design in films and video games has contributed.

To the interview

“With the C-Leg, we have introduced a new dimension of walking for transfemoral amputees, a true milestone in prosthetics. Mechatronics puts people first – they no longer have to think about every step, they gain freedom and safety for an active everyday life. With 100,000 fittings and numerous studies, the C-Leg is rightly regarded as the gold standard in prosthetics today.”

Professor Hans Georg Näder, owner and Chairman of the Board of Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA

The C-Leg story

12 Stories from C-Leg users

C-Leg user Julia Porzelt
Rider with leg prostheses

Julia Porzelt (DE)

The 26-year-old from Chiemsee was born without knees, lower legs and feet. Therefore, she wears the C-Leg from Ottobock on both legs. She says, “The prostheses are part of me. I put them on in the morning and take them off at night. They allow me to live my life as independently as possible.” Her great passion is sports: “I have been riding horses since I was a child. Meanwhile, I'm competing in international tournaments and have already been a Bavarian champion several times and a German junior champion once.” She does not wear the prostheses while riding, only when handling the horse – for feeding and saddling.
Instagram
C-Leg user Andrew Lourake
Ready for takeoff

Andrew Lourake (USA)

The pilot flew members of congress and prominent politicians from Hillary Clinton to Al Gore on the presidential plane “Air Force Two.” He lost his leg due to an infection after a motorcycle accident and was on the verge of losing his pilot's license. But with the C-Leg, he managed to pass the pilot test anew. Andrew Lourake was able to take off again – and the photo of his handicapped parking card in the cockpit went around the world.
C-Leg user Dima Aktaa
Escape from Syria

Dima Aktaa (Great Britain)

28-year-old Dima Aktaa loves sports and especially sprinting – despite her amputation. She lost her left leg after a bomb attack in Syria. Since her escape, she lives with her family in Central Bedfordshire and works in a school. Now she can even pursue her passion as a runner again. She also feels much safer with the C-Leg: “One day I was on holiday with my family in Turkey and went shopping at the mall. Suddenly we heard an alarm and ran faster – nothing happened in the end, but my prosthesis allowed me to run and jump normally.
Instagram
C-Leg user Curtis Grimsley
Lifesaver at the World Trade Center

Curtis Grimsley (USA)

The IT specialist was working in the World Trade Center when the floor suddenly shook: “I looked out the window and saw a lot of paper flying by,” says the transfemoral amputee. He immediately went to the stairwell. With his artificial leg, he made it down the many floors of the skyscraper in time: “The C-Leg made the difference between life and death for me because it allowed me to walk down the stairs normally.”
C-Leg user Georg Schober
Training for the Paralympic Games

Georg Schober (Austria)

Georg Schober had a bone tumour as a child, causing problems with his leg for a long time because he couldn't put weight on it. An amputation became inevitable. He says this gave him a new perspective on his freedom. With the prosthesis, he was able to walk normally and do sports for the first time. He liked it so much that he now even wants to compete in the javelin throw at the Paralympic Games: “For me, the prospect of sports is simply fulfilling.”
C-leg user Amy Bream
CrossFit and boxing with a prosthesis

Amy Bream (USA)

“I have a passion for pushing myself to the limits,” says athlete Amy Bream. She was born with a proximal femoral defect, a rare limb difference of the thigh bone. ”I've never had an amputation and have been wearing a prosthesis since I was one year old.” The American only started professional sports in 2015, when she moved to Nashville and began training in a boxing studio. First she wore a C-Leg, later the Genium X3 for highly active users. ”Since then, my skills and self-confidence as an athlete have grown exponentially.” She took part in the Crossfit Games and Wodapalooza. Today she is sponsored by Nike Adaptive.
Instagram
C-Leg user Patricia van der Voort
Reclaiming her old life

Patricia van der Voort (NL)

55-year-old Patricia van der Voort from the Netherlands is mother of two grown-up daughters and loves her job as a school secretary. When she fell off the stairs at the age of 52, she fractured her knee so badly that it could not be fully restored. ”One and a half years later, I decided to have my leg amputated and to walk on a prosthesis from now on. It was the best decision I could make. I've gotten my old life back and I'm independent again! Before my amputation, I could only walk on crutches and stand for no more than 5 minutes.”
C-Leg user Billy Brimblecom Jr.
Drummer and founder of a foundation

Billy Brimblecom Jr. (USA)

The drummer has been active in the music scene for over 30 years. He has toured the world as a musician. Shortly after he formed his band, a tumour was discovered in his left ankle. Brimblecom had his left leg amputated and has been wearing a C-Leg ever since. This has made his passion for music stronger than ever, he says. His prosthesis gets him into conversations. Since 2013, he has been supporting other amputees who need prostheses in the USA as managing director of the Steps of Faith Foundation. Every autumn, he organises the “Thundergong!” benefit concert in Kansas City to raise money for amputees in need.
Instagram
C-Leg user Geir Arne Hageland
Adventure in the wilderness

Geir Arne Hageland (Norway)

The 50-year-old was one of the first bilateral C-Leg wearers in the world and says he is Norway's “most flexible man”: "I wear short and long prostheses alternately, so my height changes”, he says. The short legs improve his balance when sawing in the woods. Due to a limb difference, his legs were amputated when he was five. He and other people who overcome physical limitations were portrayed in the documentary series “Ingen Grenser”. For this he spent 30 days in the wilderness. The former local politician lives in the midst of mountains and national parks. From there, he runs the Funkibator organisation: “We realise outdoor projects with other amputees and report on them in order to increase visibility.” Meanwhile, he wears a Genium X3.
Instagram
C-Leg user Brandon Todd
His own fashion label

Brandon Todd (USA)

29-year-old Brandon Todd from Georgia has founded many start-ups. When he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, this was out of the question at first: “I was going shopping, saw another motorcyclist in the breakdown lane and wanted to help them. Then a car hit me from behind.” Thanks to his prosthesis, he is now able to live his life normally again. For example, he founded his own fashion company “The Mind Clothing” and now designs inspiring clothing for sports and leisure: “I can do anything with one leg,” he says. “And I love to inspire others with it.”
Instagram
C-Leg user Sita Kuhne
Always active

Sita Kuhne (NL)

The 59-year-old Dutchwoman helps people re-enter the workforce after an illness. Her own experience with disability helps her. Sita Kuhne wears her C-Leg prosthesis due to a congenital limb difference of the leg. She came into contact with Ottobock through her daughter, an O&P professional, and became a test runner: “I volunteered. I am a very active person and I like to help wherever I can,” she says. She has been supporting research and development ever since. ”I can do almost anything with my prostheses. We like hiking in the mountains. When we go downhill, the C-Leg is the actual walking leg for me and I feel very safe.”
C-Leg user Zainab al Eqabi
On the cover of Vogue

Zainab Al-Eqabi (United Arab Emirates)

The 31-year-old lives in Dubai and, among other things, works as a motivational speaker. She is moved by the fact that she made it to the cover of the renowned fashion magazine Vogue. A bomb fragment caused the loss of her left leg in Baghdad in 1997. The C-Leg was her first mechatronic prosthesis: “It was my best friend, my partner in every step I took! I am so grateful for the freedom it has given me,” she says. Today she wears a Genium X3, the prosthesis for highly active people from Ottobock, and says: “I have a passion for everything that makes me happy and raises my adrenaline; adventure, travel and breaking the norms!”
Instagram

“Patient Zero” is flying around the world today

“My friend said to me on the trip: Bernd, you are not disabled!” says Bernd Schwien. “When it comes to lugging a 40-litre canister through the jungle, the amputation doesn't matter anymore. That means the world to me!” “Patient zero,” the first wearer of the C-Leg mechatronic knee joint (MPK), was present at its market launch in 1997. He says the prosthesis that was revolutionary at the time enabled him to live his life as freely and actively as he does today. So he fulfilled his big dream in March and flew through Costa Rica in an open gyrocopter. Ottobock was allowed to accompany him.

He witnessed the development of the first C-Leg

In 1983 the university professor from Lower Saxony would not have believed that he was able to do this. He lost his left leg at the age of 19 after being run over by a driver while standing at a traffic light. He barely survived and developed a new attitude to life: “Nothing is impossible!” He even managed to earn every available hobby pilot's license with his prosthetic foot. Schwien became one of about a dozen Europeans with a leg prosthesis and a pilot's license – thanks to his C-Leg, as he says. His path led the young doctoral student to the prosthesis manufacturer Ottobock after his amputation. There he had the opportunity to tell the developers what he wanted as a user. In 1993, he became a test runner for the prototype of the new C-Leg mechatronic knee joint: “Every technology I had used up to that point quickly reached its limits. No knee joint lasted longer than seven or eight months.” It was different with the C-Leg. Schwien was able to move for the first time at the walking speed he desired as a young man, to climb stairs as before, and the automatic stumble recovery caught him if he faltered. Sensors registered the surface on which he was moving, so that the leg could automatically switch to the appropriate setting – a milestone. “This gave me confidence and security. For the first time after my accident, I no longer needed to consciously think about my movements”, he says.

”Mr. C-Leg's” flight through Costa Rica

After his doctorate in economics, Bernd Schwien joined Ottobock as Product Manager and worked on the further development of the C-Leg: “At one point, my name in the team was Mr. C-Leg, because I was always patient zero for new prototypes,” he says. ”That was exciting! At the time, I couldn't imagine that this would set such standards.” Later, Bernd Schwien accompanied other users as they tried out the new mechatronic prosthesis: “I looked them in the eye and experienced pure happiness,” he recalls. The new feeling of security allowed them to do things in a very short time that they could not imagine before. Bernd Schwien doesn't wear a C-Leg anymore, but the Genium for highly active users: “I rode unsteady boats in Costa Rica and ran through soft sand,” he says. ”And, of course, I carried canisters. A lot has happened since 1997. Mechatronic prostheses have undergone a giant leap in development.” The C-Leg has paved the way for Bernd Schwien's life to no longer feel like a handicap: “I no longer say in the morning that I'm putting on my prosthesis. I'm putting my leg on!” Instead of a handicap, he says, he now refers to a functional impairment that can be compensated - also because of prostheses such as the C-Leg. Videos about Bernd Schwiens travel to Costa Rica you can find in 'Further information'.

Contact person

Maja Hoock

PR Manager

+49 151 188 835 07
Maja.Hoock@ottobock.de

Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA
Prenzlauer Allee 242
10405 Berlin