Playing Pool with an Upper Limb Prosthesis
by Amber Henson, on Sep 5, 2023
For people with an upper limb difference, playing pool or billiards can be an excellent choice for a hobby. Its focus on dexterity, calculation and precision, as opposed to heavy force, can be a great way to build endurance and functional ability with a residual limb. For anyone with an upper limb difference looking to play pool, there are several factors to consider. These include the level of limb difference, the level of competition they are interested in, and hand dominance/adaptability.
Level of Limb Difference
People with finger or partial hand amputations often do not have options when it comes to activity-specific devices. But for playing pool, a passive device, such as a Point Designs digit(s) (pictured below), would be appropriate to balance the pool cue and position it appropriately on the table. As for common terminal devices, most should allow for casual games of pool; for instance, a body-powered hook would allow the player the ability to position the cue and shoot.
Level of Competition
If playing pool is one of your favorite hobbies, your job, or something you do on a regular basis, you may want to consider an activity-specific device. Below, you can watch our patient Ricardo use the Hustler TD.
For people with acquired amputation whose dominant hand is affected, there are new decisions to make for every activity. Should they consider hand dominance retraining and relearn the activity with their non-dominant hand? Should they consider using their prosthesis to complete that activity? With playing pool, it is up to the player to decide which side they would like to use for shooting and aiming versus support and positioning. That’s where adaptability comes in — each person will make a decision that works for them, based on their confidence, level of skill and how much they are willing to alter their form.
If playing pool is your interest, or if it’s something you’d like to get into, our clinical therapy specialists can help get you started. Our clinical teams offer complimentary consultations, either in person or via video chat, to discuss your goals. You can contact us to schedule a consultation. If you have any comments regarding this subject, please leave them below.