The Different Types of Prosthetic Devices
Your specific prosthetic device will have its own maintenance challenges. Here is a breakdown of various types of artificial limbs:
Leg Amputation Artificial Limbs
Transtibial (below the knee) or transfemoral (above the knee) amputations are available (above the knee). Your prosthetic device must incorporate the knee if your amputation is above the knee.
These prosthetic limbs are made of wood or urethane foam and are protected by a durable plastic shell. They are heavier and less adaptable than other systems, although are more durable.
The pylon material is encased inside these artificial limbs, which are made of aluminum or titanium. Users can swap knees and feet, and the system can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of activities. These are prosthetic devices designed for those who want to live an active lifestyle.
There are two types of knees to choose from:
- Single-Axis Knees: These knees are solely designed to flex forward and backward.
- Polycentric (four-bar) knees are more flexible than single-axis knees because they can rotate on many axes.
Arm Amputation Artificial Limbs
Amputations of the arm are classified as either transradial (below the elbow) or transhumeral (above the elbow) (above the elbow). A transradial prosthetic device is meant to replace the forearm, wrist, and hand, but a transhumeral device must also accommodate elbow motion.
Artificial Limb Powered by the Human Body
This device makes use of a multi-cable system that allows you to flex, move your wrist, and grab objects. You can learn to open and close your hand voluntarily, as well as lock your elbow in place.
Artificial Limbs Powered by Electricity
These prosthetic arms are designed to look and function like a normal arm. Electrical impulses are sent through muscles in the remaining residual limb to regulate it. This type of prosthetic device has to be recharged regularly.
Many users believe that the ideal robotic arm is a combination of both methods. It combines the use and appearance of an arm powered by electricity with the function of one powered by the body.
Each type of artificial limb will have its own set of maintenance standards. Here are, however, some general prosthetic maintenance care steps of which users must be aware.
Artificial Limb Maintenance
1) General Maintenance Concerns
Like any mechanical device, your artificial limb will show signs of wear and tear. A few of the maintenance concerns to which you must pay close attention include:
- Loose screws and bolts
- Changes in the way the limb sounds, such as squeaking and squealing or clicking and popping
- Parts that seem to stick or not move as fluidly as they once did
- Any cracks, breaks, or visible signs of damage
- Keep your prosthetic device dry as water can cause corrosion
If you have any maintenance concerns, it is important to talk with your rehabilitation team and artificial limb developer.
2) Clean Your Artificial Limb
In an area as beautiful as ours, it is only natural that you will want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Like anything, your prosthetic device will collect dirt, debris, dust, rain, and sweat.
The liner and socket should be cleaned regularly, while the socks or sheaths should be cleaned daily. However, it is important to make sure you do not allow water to remain on the device.
3) Clean Your Residual Limb
Some of the same dirt, debris, and sweat that collects on your prosthesis can also impact your residual limb. Failing to properly care for the residual limb could lead to the development of a painful rash. Sometimes, a rash can become infected and cause additional problems.
4) Pay Attention to Changes in Fit
During warmer weather, it is natural for your residual limb to experience some swelling, which may make the prosthetic device feel tighter. However, the change in fit should be minimal even then.
If you are feeling substantial changes or even discomfort, you do not want to ignore those differences. It is time to talk to your rehabilitation team and orthopedic specialist.
Orthopedic Appliance Company - Artificial Limb Maintenance
At Orthopedic Appliance Company, artificial limb maintenance is something we take seriously. Even after a patient has had a custom-made prosthetic device developed at Orthopedic Appliance Company, the process is not complete.
New amputees typically return to our clinic numerous times after obtaining their permanent prosthesis for adjustments and to ask questions that arise as they build endurance and adjust to life with an artificial limb. Return visits are usually only required once every 3-4 months after a few months.
Follow-up appointments address any issues that patients may be having, as well as routine maintenance, cleaning, and component replacement. In fact, follow-up is a lifelong activity. We are going to do everything within our power to make sure you have the absolute best artificial limb.
Whether you are in need of a new prosthetic device or your existing artificial limb needs to be repaired or maintained, the team at Orthopedic Appliance Company is here to help. Contact us today for more information about maintenance for prosthetic devices.