How A Patient Learns To Cope With An Artificial Arm

While soldiers who have lost legs have done well with artificial legs, this has not been the case as much for those who have lost arms. This is partially due to the fact that arm prosthetic technology still needs to catch up with leg prosthetic due to the greater priority placed on the ability to walk. But another reason is simply that arms are more complex than legs. Arms have excellent coordination and have hands and fingers attached that must be capable of incredible dexterity. Therefore, it can be difficult to become used to a prosthetic arm.

Overcoming the Loss of an Arm

A prosthetic arm will either be above or below the elbow. Above-the-elbow prosthetics are a complete replacement of the arm. While the prosthetic arm can be useful, the patient will still usually experience a significant sense of loss that results from no longer having the limb attached. This can often trigger feelings of isolation, anger and depression. Therefore, the patient will likely need the assistance of a therapist when learning to cope with an amputation.

Learning to Use the Prosthetic

The fastest way to learn how to use a prosthetic arm is to work with a physical therapist who is specialized in amputees. The patient will be given exercises to perform that allow him or her to practice using the prosthetic arm. But even if the patient becomes very accustomed to using the artificial arm, modern artificial arms do not function as well as real arms, which may lead to the patient being limited in the tasks he or she is able to perform.

The most important relationship the patient will have within his or her medical team is the relationship with the prosthetist. How well the patient adapts will be based on the work the prosthetist performs to make sure they receive the right limb. The perfect artificial arm will be based on the type of work that the patient typically performs, what the patient wants out of life. 

The prosthetist is also responsible for helping the patient learn how to use the prosthetic limb. This includes caring for the limb and attaching it to the patient's body properly. Most importantly, the patient will need to think about how he or she will rebuild his or her life after losing a limb. It is important for the patient to take charge of how his or her daily activities are structured so that both the limb and other assistance devices can help the patient live his or her life to the fullest. Contact a company like Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic for more information.