Yardwork With a Prosthesis
by Amber Henson, on Feb 1, 2022
The grass doesn’t stop growing just because you’ve been injured. After an amputation, you may think regular tasks like yardwork or gardening will be impossible, but with the right device and training, you can do almost anything. Chino Acosta, in the picture above, is one example and we have more patient stories to prove it.
“About three weeks after Matt was injured, I came home from work – we have three acres of lawn. He was on that lawnmower. He was still bandaged, swollen. You know, still in full recovery mode. I think that’s really when it started for him, when he knew that he was going to have to come up with different ways to do everything in his life that he wanted to do. So, we had to start letting him find those ways.” – Katie Razink about her husband Matt, who has a below-elbow amputation (watch their video)
With yardwork, which can be dirty, wet and tough on a prosthesis, a body-powered device might be your best choice. Body-powered limbs are more durable than most other types of prostheses, making them perfect for heavy-duty activities. Hooks are one of the most versatile terminal devices to use for yardwork. They can grasp large objects and also have fine pinch options.
Check out Jason Koger in the video below, talking about how he uses the wrist rotators on his body-powered arms when he’s driving his riding lawnmower:
Driving a lawnmower is one thing, but what about yardwork like shoveling or spraying pesticides on roses? You can watch Chino do both in his patient profile video:
What about something REALLY heavy-duty, like using a chainsaw? Well, yes, that’s possible, too:
How about something a little less involved but much more common, like raking? Not a problem, even for a bilateral upper limb amputee. In the picture below, you can see Gerry Kinney using his electronic terminal devices (ETDs) for this relatively light duty yardwork. ETDs may also be helpful for gardening tasks like planting seeds or transplanting seedlings, but we’ll focus on those in a future gardening article.
Yardwork sometimes takes on the form of smaller, precision tasks like pruning. While there are some tools that work well with prosthetic terminal devices, other tools may require hand dominance retraining or adaptive equipment to complete a task safely and efficiently. Our clinical therapy specialists help our patients learn how to use a prosthesis – and they also help patients train their sound hand do some of the tasks the other hand used to do. Our therapists are available to provide prosthetic training for the lifetime of your prosthesis. No matter how long it has been since your device was made, we are always here to help – especially when you pick up new hobbies or responsibilities!
Seeing our patients enjoying yardwork with a prosthesis is a testament to how they’re able to move past limb loss and do the things they want to do. How can we help you get back out to your yard and taming the wilderness? We’d love for you to contact us and request a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation. Do you have any yardwork tips for your peers? Please leave them in the comment section below!
For more information, see related Arm Dynamics articles here: