Prosthetics - Looking to the future
Friday, 12th February 2016
The amputation of a limb is a life changing event which will affect the amputee both physically and psychologically. Support through rehabilitation and prosthetic technology is the key to helping an amputee achieve their personal goals, to gain independence and maximise their quality of life.
Prosthetic technology continues to advance. If you are able to fund private prostheses, perhaps through private health insurance or as a result of making a claim, there are many rehabilitation providers available to assist you in your road to recovery. One such provider is Pace Rehabilitation who are currently working with a number of manufacturers to help their clients to achieve more function with their prosthetic limbs.
There are many options to choose from when seeking to find the best prosthetic for your individual needs and lifestyle. Visit the Pace Rehabilitation website for more details.
An exciting development is the 'Rush foot' which is handcrafted in America. Rush foot is made from a glass composite material instead of the commonly used carbon fibre. This virtually indestructible glass means that the amputee can have a more comfortable fit and have the ability to maintain a normal gait in the most rugged or uneven terrain such as water, mud and sand. Having just one artificial foot to perform in all these terrains is an exciting development.
World leading rehabilitation provider Blatchford have created a breathable silicone liner which has laser cut holes to allows moisture to escape. This results in drier skin and prevents infection. It also helps to reduce the damaging effects of friction caused by the prosthetic.
Changes in prosthetic technology have also enabled manufacturer WillowWood, to create a prosthetic device which allows the user by remote control to pump air out of their socket, creating a vacuum to achieve a more comfortable fit.
Given the extensive range of prosthetics available, it is important that the amputee choses a prosthetic that is right for their needs. Whilst the NHS are able to supply up to date prosthesis there can be funding issues, (depending on where you live). If however, you are making a claim, your solicitor can assist by instructing a prosthetic expert to consider the individual needs. No amputation is the same and each amputee will need to be assessed individually and carefully, regardless of who is funding that support.
There are amputation support groups in the UK such as Limbless Association who not only provide advice and support, but key information as well. For example they have information on their website of the DWP benefits which can be claimed to provide financial help during your recovery and treatment.
Advancements in prosthetic technology have also allowed the creation of prosthetic limbs using 3D software. Whilst this technology is more widely available in America, it provides an insight into the advancements in technology and the wider choices which may be available in the future in the UK.
Ultimaker (the makers of 3D printers) are making great advances in the development of 3D printed hands.
The future of prosthetics is in these technological developments, but the real challenge will be to provide these high end prostheses at more affordable prices.
With all these advances, the future is looking better than ever for individuals who have suffered such terrible life changing injury. Losing a limb in an accident need not stop people from being able to function in their daily lives, sporting and leisure activities.