About This Report
Our mission at BionicsForEveryone.com is to help those with physical or neurological disabilities to understand their bionic technology options free of commercial influence. We do not sanction or promote specific bionic devices. Nor do we accept any form of payment from the makers of those devices. We serve only end-users under the mantra, “an informed patient is an empowered patient”.
The purpose of these User Satisfaction Reports is a) to create a platform that allows end-users to share helpful information with each other, and b) to finally give end-users a true consumer voice that we hope will help shape the future of the bionics industry.
We drew the information for this report from our Ottobock C-Leg User Satisfaction Survey and also from various amputee support forums around the web. For more information, see How We Vetted The Information in This Report near the bottom of this page.
General User Satisfaction
This is obviously very positive feedback for the C-Leg. What we found surprising is that even for the six end-users who had to have their C-Leg repaired three or more times (see the next section), half still said they were very happy and the other half said they were moderately happy.
Several users also expressed strong affection for their C-Leg in our free-form response area.
This chart says that 22.2 % (6/27) of C-Legs had to be repaired 3 or more times. The underlying data says that the average number of repairs per C-Leg owner was at least 1.11.
However, this is a bit misleading. Some of the owners reporting repairs have had multiple generations of the C-Leg over the past decade. To keep our survey short, we did not ask for detailed repair data. But when we look at only C-Legs that have been in use since 2016 (i.e. within the expected 5-year life cycle of most bionic limbs), we find that the repair rate drops to .57 per owner. To put this in context, the average repair rate across our survey data for all bionic devices since 2016 is 1.07.
Put another way, the C-Leg does not seem to have a durability problem when compared to the rest of the bionic limb industry, though we believe that the industry as a whole still needs to improve in this area.
As you can see, C-Leg customers are almost evenly split between those who say they will buy another C-Leg versus those who are unsure.
Our first thought upon seeing this was: that’s a lot of uncertainty for users who are almost all either very happy or moderately happy with their device. However, when we compare the C-Leg to all other bionic devices combined, what stands out is that 0 users rule out buying a C-Leg again. The figure for all other bionic devices is nearly 25 %. Additionally, the number of people who say they will buy the same device again drops to only 40 % for all other devices, well below the 52 % score for the C-Leg.
As for the high level of uncertainty, we expect to see this across all devices, mainly because human bionics is undergoing such a technological revolution at the moment, it only makes sense that end-users will want to re-evaluate what’s available for each update cycle.
One of the most interesting parts of our survey is the free-form text area that allows end-users to say whatever they want about a device. Reading these, here are our general observations:
- A couple of users complained about the weight of the knee. This surprised us because, at 1.24 kilograms, the C-Leg is basically tied with the Plie Knee for the 2nd lightest bionic knee on the market, trailing only the Kenevo Knee.
- A few long-time users mentioned that they had experienced multiple glitches when they moved from the C-Leg 3 to the C-Leg 4. Since the C-Leg 4 was launched in 2015, we expect that Ottobock has resolved these glitches by now. However, the most recent end-user to complain about this got their C-Leg 4 within just the past few years, so this issue may still be worth discussing with your prosthetist if you’re planning a similar upgrade.
- As mentioned, several users expressed their genuine affection for their C-Leg, relaying comments about how much it had changed their lives for the better. We look forward to the day when every end-user can say this about every bionic device!
We try to stay neutral on the specific brands/models of bionic devices that we review and let the data speak for itself. However, we think it’s fair to point out that the C-Leg exceeds the industry average in all three of the key measurements in our survey.
Just as important, we do not see any significant red flags for this device. This is not true of some of the other devices for which we have collected data — a point that will become evident when we publish their User Satisfaction Reports.
How We Vetted the Information in This Report
Most of the participants in our User Satisfaction Surveys for bionic limbs come from amputee support forums where we are very active. As such, we already know the participants.
In other cases, we contacted participants to ask for a link to an online profile so that we could verify they were real end-users.
Finally, to make sure that our results weren’t being gamed, we spent a full day perusing hundreds of conversations about the C-Leg on various social media platforms and found those conversations to be consistent with our survey results. The only issue raised consistently about the C-Leg that wasn’t covered in our survey was a complaint about the cost of C-Leg accessories and/or replacement parts.
Why You Should Join Our Efforts to Share Information
Our User Satisfaction Surveys consist of only 4 multiple-choice questions and require less than 60 seconds to complete.
Why participate? Because your experiences may help a fellow end-user make more informed decisions.
To contribute to our C-Leg data, please see our Ottobock C-Leg User Satisfaction Survey.
The survey forms for most of the other bionic devices on the market can be found here.
Click here for our main article on the C-Leg.