The history of prosthetics is an amazing study in man’s desire to gain back wholeness after a limb has been lost. It begins in Africa with the ancient Egyptians. Excavations reveal that the Egyptians were the earliest experimenters with prosthetics. Originally thought to have made them for a sense of “wholeness,” apparently the ancient Egyptians were aiming for function as well. A prosthetic toe was found on an Egyptian mummy and research proved it to be functional.
Function versus Form
In 1858 a prosthetic leg was found in Capua, Italy. This device was apparently made sometime during 300 B.C for someone whose leg had been amputated below the knee. It had a wooden core and was overlaid with bronze and iron.
Peg legs were common during the Dark Ages. In these days prosthetics served specific purposes – an artificial leg was created for a soldier to keep it in the stirrups while riding into battle. A peg leg that functioned as a way to help one walk was only available to the wealthy. Little advancement was made in prosthetics until the Renaissance era, beginning in the 1400s. The core of the prosthetic was often made of wood and some type of metal covered the wood; usually iron, steel or copper.
Precursor to Modern Prosthetic Legs
Around 1536, a barber/surgeon named Ambroise Pare began creating prostheses for amputees. He is also credited for the establishment of modern amputation procedures. Pare’s devices were the first to have engineering features that are still used in modern prosthetics. His artificial legs had adjustable harnesses and a knee lock position. He also had a kneeling peg leg with a fixed foot prosthetic. He seems to be the first with some understanding of how prosthetics should function.
Restored Natural Function and Movement
Through the years, improvements continued to be made. Prosthetic legs became lighter and more functional. With the computer age and robotics came devices that are not only realistic in appearance, but they are able to function in ways that mimic the movement of natural limbs. With the advent of microprocessors and computer chips, prosthetic limbs are now almost completely able to restore an amputee to the level of functionality prior to the loss of the limb.
Today you will see athletes partaking in sports as well as, or in some cases even better than before amputation. People are able to run, ski, surf and participate in any number of activities with the prosthetic legs that modern technology has made possible.
Even with the advancements that have been made, the loss of a limb is a life-altering occurrence. At Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. law office, if you have been injured in an accident, call us. We will help you get compensated for your losses. We serve residents in the Port Charlotte, FL and surrounding areas. We are here to help you with all your personal injury legal needs.