Gerry and Chris Buck

When asked, “How does it feel to wear a prosthesis?” many of our patients responded by answering how it feels to them mentally, describing what it means to them to have the option of wearing a device that helps them live their lives. We also wanted to hear about how it feels physically, so that people who haven’t worn one can get an idea of what it’s like. Read on for different opinions from different patients.

We spoke with Isaiah, pictured below, who has a wrist disarticulation and wears a TASKA hand and an activity-specific device to help him at the gym:

“It's like wearing a new extension, an extension of yourself. It's not like wearing a glove, right? It's like wearing a second piece of you. I don't know, when I put mine on it does feel very me. It feels like it's part of me. Once it's on I kind of just forget it. I'm not thinking of it as being odd. I'm just thinking, oh, this is just me, and I'm just using it like my other hand.”

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Our Arm Dynamics team member Kristi (pictured below with her daughter), has a congenital limb difference and wears a single-motor myoelectric hand with a silicone restoration covering, and an activity-specific device for exercising:

“As someone with a congenital limb difference who’s been wearing a prosthesis since I was six months old, my prosthesis is very much a part of me. Sometimes when I’m at home, I will take it off so I can be my most comfortable. It does get a little heavy toward the end of the day. But there are times, like, say I’m a passenger in a car and I don’t need to be wearing my device  I will still wear it. It’s not just my prosthesis, it’s my arm. It helps balance me. There’s the symmetry aspect. And for me, I also like being able to blend in more, so it’s not the first thing people notice about me.”

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We also spoke with Chris (pictured in the image at the top of this article, on the right), who has an amputation that begins just below his shoulder. He wears a myoelectric elbow, wrist and an ETD:

“I love wearing my prosthesis. I feel that I’m more balanced. Not only aesthetically balanced, but the weight of the prosthesis allows me to feel balanced when I’m walking or bending over. Also, wearing a prosthesis is now alleviating the back pain that I developed while I was without an arm for 18 months."

Gerry (on the left in the same photo), is a bilateral amputee who wears both myoelectric and body-powered devices, said that the first word that comes to his mind when he thinks about how it feels to wear his prostheses, is “independent.”

“You know, these prostheses are what have allowed me to do all the things that I used to do before my accident, and to travel and go wherever I want to go by myself. Some nights I don’t want to take them off, but I know I have to, just to give my residual limbs some rest. In the morning, though, as soon as I put those things on, it's like, ‘OK, here we go I'm ready.’”

One thing Gerry did mention was that while he finds his devices very comfortable most days, he does need to think about factors he can’t control, like the weather.

“When it’s really cold or really hot, wearing my prostheses can be an issue. When it’s cold, my muscles contract and the myoelectric sensors don’t work as well. And with heat and humidity, if I’m sweating a lot, I have to be careful. That moisture builds up inside the socket, and again, the myoelectric sensors won’t work sometimes. Another thing is that I have a lot of skin grafts on my residual limb, and if I sweat too much, the skin tears easily. I have to make time to take my prostheses off to let them dry thoroughly, and let my limbs dry thoroughly.”

We know that there are also people out there who may prefer not to wear an upper limb prosthesis. Our Arm Dynamics clinical team believes that with the right fit and experts at your service, it is possible to be comfortable wearing a prosthesis. For some people, it’s about changing from a thermoplastic socket to a silicone socket. For others, it’s finding a prosthesis and terminal device that aren’t too heavy for their residual limb. Still others find it’s about getting exactly the right fit, which is possible with our clinical team because they are upper limb specialists. It’s also about finding the right terminal device that helps people blend in or stand out whatever their preference may be.

If you or someone you know is looking to find out what it’s like to wear an upper limb prosthesis due to a limb difference or limb loss, please contact us. All potential patients and their families are invited to attend a complimentary consultation, either in-person or via video chat. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please leave them below.

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