Gardening with a Prosthesis
by Amber Henson, on Mar 8, 2022
While gardening may not be quite as physically taxing as most yardwork (here's our blog on yardwork) it can still take a lot of effort. You need the right tools for the job, and for you, one of those tools may be your prosthesis.
The number one thing with gardening is that it's messy. You need to make sure that the terminal device you’re using can get wet and muddy. The TASKA hand is the only multi-articulating myoelectric hand that can get wet. Other options include an electronic terminal device (ETD) and a body-powered hook. Both of those can get a good grip on a trowel, while the TASKA has great pinching capability for grasping seeds and pulling weeds.
When using fertilizer, an ETD or a body-powered hook are a better option than the TASKA hand. While your TASKA hand may be able to get wet, something caustic like fertilizer might be too rough for it. If you do get fertilizer or any other chemicals on your prosthesis, be sure to wash your device immediately. You should do the same for an ETD or hook — but you can wait until you finish your task. We checked in with our prosthetist, Mac, from our Northwest Center in Portland, OR, about putting a gardening glove on a multi-articulating hand. His response: “Multi-articulating hands are notoriously difficult to get gloves over, and unless they are a nitrile or latex exam glove, in a lot of cases, the glove hinders the function of the hand.” Be sure to speak to your prosthetist about their recommendation regarding nitrile or latex gloves and how thick they should be. But your best bet is to use a device designed for rugged work that’s dirty or wet. This is just one example of why it’s important to have more than one device.
Pruning may be a difficult task with any terminal device. Using a hand pruner may require hand dominance retraining or adaptive equipment that helps you complete tasks safely and efficiently. Not to worry — our clinical therapy specialists help our patients learn how to use a prosthesis and train their sound hand to do some of the tasks the other hand used to do.
Is gardening an activity you’d like to participate in? If yes, we can help you find a way to do it, no matter what your amputation level or if you have a unilateral or bilateral upper limb difference. Just contact us and we’ll set up a complimentary consultation, either in-person or via video. Do you garden and have some tips to share with your peers? Please comment in the section below. Thanks for reading!
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