Category: Kinetics Text Stories

Body Parts: Man and Machine

img_0058Man-made materials can only try to copy human bones and muscles. Artificial hands and feet can be made to look like real ones. But the big challenge is duplicating how the human body moves.

People who are trained to fit and fix prosthetic limbs for amputees are called prosthetists (pronounced praus-the-tists). Prosthetists have huge responsibilities. Lots of patience too. They have to be sure that the prosthetic arms and legs they make fit well, function well and look good too.

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Ski Legs and Hockey Feet

244823233_canah147Amputee skiers and hockey players spend plenty of time making sure their prosthetic legs and feet are ready for action. Skiers make sure their knees and ankles are adjusted and securely positioned just right for the slopes. Amputee hockey players like flexible feet in their skates for good contact with the ice. Some players have special skating legs that always stay in their skate boot. Others skip the boot. Their prosthetists attach a skate blade right to their prosthetic foot for better power. Whether it’s a special sports arm or leg, prosthetists are always ready to find the best solution for each amputee.

Want to know more about amputee sports? Visit the Canadian Amputee Sports Association at

Art and Science

img_0179Prosthetist Dawn McGee says that the best part of her job is working with people to help them overcome their disability and their challenges. “I really like helping my clients get back to doing things they were doing before their amputation,” she explains. She adds with a great big smile that “it is really gratifying to see that happen.”

Getting fitted with a first prosthetic leg or arm can be a very difficult time for new amputees. Dawn says that prosthetists are very sensitive about this. “Losing a limb is a very big loss,” she says. “In my job I am supportive but I have to be realistic for them too so they can reach their goals.”

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