Missing a limb can make life difficult since so much of our world is built for people will all four limbs intact. To remedy this, we have accommodations in many places, but sometimes a prosthetic is required to help with mobility, especially for those who have lost limbs later in life. However, there are many different kinds of prosthetics and some may work better for certain tasks than others. Plus, lifelike prosthetics can be expensive and difficult to move. Here are some alternative options to the lifelike silicone prosthetic:
Specialized limbs are great for people who need to do specific or precision tasks. These tools come in all forms, but look much different from your standard prosthetic. Curved, springy prosthetics for running and prosthetic arms with interchangeable hand implements are a few examples of specialized limbs. These prosthetics can be made for anything, from fly fishing to eating soup.
Externally Powered Prosthetics
Depending on how they’re powered, some prosthetics may be less expensive than others. Externally powered prosthetics, however, use microprocessors to help read muscle movement in and around the affected limb to help create natural, accurate movements. These prosthetics are quite popular—even though they’re a bit more expensive than other kinds of prosthetics—because they allow amputees to use their prosthetic limbs in a similar way to how a natural limb would.
Body-powered prosthetics are often less expensive than externally powered prosthetics, since they don’t need microprocessors to work and instead rely on a combination of hooks, harnesses, and help from other limbs to facilitate movement and function. Unlike externally powered prosthetics, body-powered prosthetics can be made to have far stronger grip strength or have specialized tools to help users with fine, precision tasks.
Most prosthetics fit around the area where the user’s limb is missing, but osseointegrated prosthetics are instead fitted through surgery, where a titanium bar is inserted and fused with the bone. This procedure may also be rather pricy but is great for people who struggle with fitting their prosthetics, weight changes, and other discomforts that can come with your standard-fit prosthetic.
3D Printed Prosthetics
In terms of accessibility, 3D printed prosthetics are a relatively new development that can help lower-income families afford prosthetic devices. These prosthetics can be printed in any shape or form, but may not be as durable as metal prosthetics. However, 3D printing technology has made it easy for people to produce prosthetic limbs for as low as 50 US dollars—far less than the average limb replacement.
No Prosthetics at All
Of course, there is nothing wrong with foregoing prosthetic devices all together! What matters most is physical and emotional comfort, and for some people, prosthetics don’t help much. The choice to use a prosthetic limb is entirely up to the individual.
To check out other mobility aids and alternatives to prosthetics, check out Medical Supply Depot.