A few years ago, I decided to take up running. I was bad at it at first, but after a few months, I got more comfortable. Unfortunately, right when I got good at running, I developed a bad pain in my left foot. At first, I decided to push past the pain, but it quickly became excruciating. I realized that it might be a good idea to talk with a doctor about my problem, and so I met with an orthopedist. He carefully watched my gait as I ran, and he decided to take some images to check out my bone health. It turned out that I had developed a stress fracture, and my doctor recommended surgery. This blog is all about ways that an orthopedist can help you, so that you can enjoy your hobbies.
If you have lost part of an upper limb, then healing from your amputation surgery needs to be your first priority. Your second priority needs to be finding the right type of prosthesis to suit your needs. Note that you are not stuck with the first type of prosthesis you choose forever. Many patients start off with one type and then change over later on once they are more aware of their needs. However, you still need to know about the major options from the get-go so you can make a smart choice.
This is the most basic type of prosthesis and the type that many patients start with. The limb is not functional; it does not actively move. However, it looks like a limb, and that can make all the difference. Passive prostheses are made from lightweight materials, so they are comfortable to wear, even when you are still healing and adapting to missing a limb. You can put a glove on a passive prosthesis or use it to balance or support lightweight objects when you lift them. Most are made to look like natural limbs, although someone can tell the difference if they look closely.
This is the next level up from a passive prosthesis. It attaches more securely to your body with a harness or strap, and the harness detects the motion of your chest or the rest of your body. In response, it moves the prosthesis. It will take some practice to learn exactly how you have to move and "lean in" with your chest to get the limb to move in a certain way, but this comes in time. You can use a battery-powered prosthesis for more specific tasks like grasping and lifting something or even stirring a pot on the stove.
The most advanced type of prosthesis, this type includes electrical sensors that are placed on the remainder of your limb and on your upper body or chest. The sensors detect movement of these body parts and respond accordingly by moving the prosthesis. Your orthopedic doctor will work with you to program the electric prosthesis so that it responds more specifically to your movements. This type of prosthesis can be used for more detailed tasks like writing or throwing a ball.
Note that these are just the three primary types of prostheses. If you need specific functionality for a hobby, like sports, your orthopedic doctor can work with a prosthetics company to design something that more specifically satisfies your needs. Contact Bio Tech Prosthetics and Orthotics to learn more.