Better Choices for People with Partial Hand and Finger Loss
by Sherri Edge, on Dec 2, 2019
Partial hand and finger amputations occur more frequently than any other level of upper limb loss.1 These types of injuries are devastating for the individual and can be some of the most challenging cases for prosthetists to fit.
For a long time, there just weren’t many functional prosthetic options for people with partial hand and finger loss. But thanks to the innovative work of engineers and researchers, better choices are becoming available. Even if it’s been a while since your amputation, it’s not too late to try one of these new devices. If your partial hand and finger loss is the result of an on the job accident, your prosthetic care may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Our hands are such a visible part of who we are and how we express ourselves that even losing part of a finger can be traumatizing and cause extreme self-consciousness. You may be tired of keeping your injured hand in your pocket or having others stare at you or ask questions. One way to restore the natural appearance of your hand is with a silicone prosthesis. These devices are passive so there’s no active grasp, however, we can add positional joints inside the fingers which allow them to be shaped so you can hold a glass or the handle of a briefcase or a grocery bag. You can watch a video that showcases those multi-positional joints.
If you’re missing part of one or more fingers or your thumb and want to regain some of your hand strength and function, check out the full MCP and partial PIP body-powered ‘drivers’ from Naked Prosthetics. Catchy name, right? The reason they’re called naked is because they don’t have coverings to make them look like human fingers. The metal and high-strength plastic that the drivers are made of are meant to look mechanical, while improving the strength and function of your injured hand. The prosthesis is activated by flexing the remaining joints of your fingers, thumb and hand.
Zach, who lives in the Dallas metro area, wears a Naked Prosthetics MCP driver (picture to the right). “Wearing the prosthesis has given me a lot more confidence, especially at work” he said. “Now when I reach out and shake someone's hand, it’s actually a full handshake with a good, firm grip.”
If you’re missing one or more fingers, Point Digits (see image below) are a new type of ratcheting finger that flexes at both joints to give you a secure grip. You use your uninjured hand or surfaces in your environment to bend the Point Digits around whatever object you need to grasp — a tool, a handle, your phone, a cheeseburger —you get the idea. These fingers are very durable and can handle dirty, dusty jobs. The shiny metallic finishes give them a high-tech, bionic appearance.
Mark is a construction superintendent in Pennsylvania who wears his Point Digits prosthesis every day on the job site. “I went with this prosthesis because each one of the Point Digits can carry a hundred pounds,” he said. “In my line of work, I need to be able to carry large and heavy things like buckets full of tools or five gallon containers of machine oil, stuff like that.” You can watch Mark at work in his patient profile video.
People who are trying these new finger options wear them on the job and also when they’re out with their friends or family. Instead of trying to hide their amputation, many amputees are embracing the mechanical look of these new devices and often enjoy showing them off to people they meet. That’s a change for the better!
For more information, see product sites, related Arm Dynamics pages and articles here:
- Naked Prosthetics Site
- Point Design Digits Site
- Partial Hand and Finger Loss Options
- Finger and Partial Hand Devices in Action
- An Introduction to Cosmetic Prostheses
1: Ziegler-Graham, K., E. J. MacKenzie, P. L. Ephraim, T. G. Travison, and R. Brookmeyer. 2008. Estimating the prevalence of limb loss in the United States: 2005 to 2050. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 89(3):422-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2007.11.005