Prosthetic limbs are artificial arms and legs designed to restore some of the natural functionality of the amputated limbs. Using a prosthesis may be unpleasant aesthetically speaking, but itís necessary in order to provide the amputee the chance of being able to perform the normal activities of their everyday life. Missing an arm or a part of it can prevent the amputee from performing basic tasks such as grasping objects or using a pen, while having one or both lower limbs amputated or missing leg portions can result in the amputeeís loss of the basic functionality of the limb. Simple commands like walking or running become impossible to perform, therefore a prosthesis is essential for the amputee in order to maintain at least some level of control over the body.
Time has revealed many different types of prostheses, from the basic limb substitutes to recent technology that allows the amputee to narrow the gap between the natural functionality provided by the biological arms and legs and the artificial capabilities provided by artificial limbs. Research and studies in the prosthetic limbs field are being continuously conducted to provide essential data and findings to help making the artificial arms and legs more similar to the real ones. Until we have some futuristic prostheses that can truly rival the appearance and functional status of the healthy limbs, amputees have loads of choices that can be made in order to make a successful living and minimize the difficulties of having amputated parts of the body.
Structure Of Prosthetic Limbs
Prosthetic limbs consist of a strong internal structure, a custom fitted socket designed to shelter the residual limb, special prosthetic socks, cuffs and belts for holding the prosthesis attached to the body and, in the case of better looking versions, a realistic-looking skin that tries to resemble the natural appearance of the lost limb. What has been described here is a typical prosthetic device; nevertheless, various improvements are successfully designed in order for the prosthetic limbs to act and feel like the biological limbs, and not as inefficient and uncomfortable tools. In fact, the ideal situation would constitute in a change of how amputees perceive their prostheses: not as artificial tools that enhance the idea of having a handicapped part of the system, but as parts of their own bodies.
Prosthetic limbs need to be made out of lightweight, resistant materials, such as the carbon fibre that has been successfully integrated in the manufacturing process of more and more prosthetic devices. Other components are made out of different forms of what we commonly call plastic, plus some lightweight metals such as titanium and aluminium that have been introduced as replacements for the steel used in making the internal structure of the prosthetic limbs.
Choosing Adequate Prosthetic Limbs
Since comfort is essential when wearing prosthetic devices, all artificial limbs are custom-made, either partly or from start to finish. Therefore, you wonít find prosthetic limbs ready to be bought at the store. The prosthesis features need to be determined by an expert; only an expert can decide on the right substitute for the missing limb. The decision is made after a proper consultation in order to fit the patientís needs as far as comfort and the level of functionality are concerned.