One of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer is the loss of part of their body, whether it is a finger, foot, or an entire limb. Fortunately for those who suffer these types of injuries, the technology of prosthetics is advancing. While these devices can never truly replace a body part, they can make it easier for the wearer to live without it. Prosthetics have been in use for thousands of years, though early devices were crude.
In recent years, though, there have been numerous advances in the field. Prosthetic legs have been developed that allow the wearer to walk normally and even run. Some people have been able to run in track meets; others are happy enough to be able to walk around the grocery store and their home. Prosthetic arms that allow the user to grip and pick up objects can now be made. Those who have lost hands and arms can now lead lives closer to normal, with less reliance on family and friends for help with everyday tasks.
Prosthetics includes other devices that people might not think of, as well. Artificial heart valves, which are becoming more common, are also included in this field. Those with certain types of heart disease may have heart valves that no longer function, leading to life threatening problems. Now doctors can replace the defective valves with artificial ones. Even larger developments are in progress; someday it may be possible to implant artificial hearts and lungs in those with serious illnesses.
Orthotics treatment is common for broken fingers and toes.
Some orthopedic supplies need to be fitted by a doctor.