Medicine: The Artificial Joint

Of all the body's joints, the ankle is one of the most complex. It is an intricate hinge that not only supports the weight of the entire body but allows the foot to rotate and tilt through a range of angles. Doctors have learned to replace diseased or injured finger joints, hips, shoulders and knees with effective, man-made spares. But they have had only limited success with artificial ankles. In many cases the best they could do was to put in a hinge that allowed the foot to move only up or down. The accepted treatment for most patients with...

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