Over the course of your lifetime, the fingers on each of your hands will bend and stretch about 25 million times each. That number isn’t that surprising when you think about how much our fingers are responsible for in our day-to-day life. We use our hands and fingers to eat, get dressed, care for ourselves, write, type, read, drive, cook, clean… the list goes on.
That said, if you’ve recently experienced a hand injury that resulted in the loss of one or more fingers, feeling a little overwhelmed on how your every day will be impacted is perfectly normal.
Every year, thousands of Americans experience a hand injury that requires finger amputation. Of the yearly average of about 45,000 finger amputations, most are performed on children under five and adults over 65, but finger injuries that lead to amputation can happen to anyone. Cuts, crush injuries, and fingers being pulled or ripped off the hand are the most common reasons for finger amputations. Thankfully, if you’ve lost a finger, prosthetic fingers are available to help restore your hand to its formal functionality.
Let’s talk about finger prosthetics and what you can expect your life to look like with a prosthetic thumb and/or prosthetic fingertips.
What Will My Everyday Life Look Like with Prosthetic Fingers?
After losing fingers, many people worry that their life will never be the same again, but prosthetic fingers allow you to live your life in much the same ways you did before your amputation. While every person and situation is different, this is true most of the time.
What Are Prosthetic Fingertips?
Prosthetic fingertips refer to prosthetics that are made specifically for digital amputation that occurs close to the fingertip, above the upper joint, and near the nail. Prosthetic fingertips restore the length of your finger and allow for pretty normal functionality. The prosthetic fingertip stays on or is suspended by creating suction between the prosthesis and the residual digit.
Are There Different Types of Finger Prosthetics?
There are five different options for prosthetic fingers.
1. Passive finger prosthetics. Passive finger prosthetics and prosthetic thumbs are usually designed to look like a natural limb or digit. They let you function in your everyday life but don’t have the ability to actively grasp and release. Some examples of passive prosthetics include cosmetic replicas of fingers, multi-positional finger joints and ratcheting systems, and ratcheting titanium fingers. Passive prosthetic thumbs can be locked into position to allow for grasping.
2. Body-powered finger prosthetics. Body-powered finger prosthetic fingers are either joint-drive, cable-controlled, or wrist-driven. They’re considered one of the more durable options and typically have a very mechanical and high-tech appearance. The prosthetics are controlled by the force exerted by the wrist, or the remaining joint on the amputated finger, which makes the movement and control feel really natural.
3. Electronically powered prosthetic fingers. Prosthetic fingers that are electronically powered have small motors inside each finger that allow the fingers to move. The movement is controlled by sensory electrodes that sense movement from either the wrist or the remaining part of the finger. You can control the amount of strength that your electronic prosthetic fingers exert and their variable, letting you use the proper amount of grip strength for differing situations.
4. Activity-specific prosthetic fingers. Prosthetic fingers that are activity-specific are made for specific hobbies, sports, or work. They do things a general hand or finger prosthetic might not be able to do without risking damage.
5. Hybrid prosthetic fingers. Hybrid prosthetic fingers combine two or more options for prosthetic fingers to increase overall functionality and performance. Because every person’s life and situation are as unique as they are, you and your prosthetist can utilize hybrid options to ensure that your prosthetic will best suit your lifestyle and needs.
While suffering from finger amputations can be traumatic, you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be able to live a normal life with finger prosthetics. To learn more about finger prosthetics and to work with our team of prosthetists to get fitted for your prosthetic fingers, contact us today.