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'Critchley' artificial leg, United Kingdom, 1918-1945

A person who had their leg amputated above the knee wore this prosthesis. It was developed by artificial limb maker Critchley of Liverpool. The prosthesis is made from metal, wood and leather. The leg consists of metal rods surrounded by a hollow wood core with leather padding pinned around it. The outer side of the leather shin has been removed to reveal the central rod supports. These mimic the bones of the leg to recreate the natural action of a person walking. A spring behind the knee allows it to bend and the ankle to flex. Large numbers of amputations during both World Wars led to prostheses developments. This leg may have been created for one of the 41,000 soldiers who lost a limb during the First World War.

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: prosthetics (functional aids)

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