Veteran walks again thanks to bionic foot - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Veteran walks again thanks to bionic foot

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Petal man is the first to receive one of the most advanced prosthetics through the 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.

This prosthetic foot was developed by the company I-Walk.  Company Spokesperson Donna Samocha said, "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."

The ankle is battery powered, 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 is up and moving, faster than he has in the last ten years.

After a short walk, Hendricks said, "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 so 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%.  Steve 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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