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Category: Socks / sleeves

Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]; published May 5, 2014, 17:43; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]}}, month = {May},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979}}


2 Comments

Any self respecting medical doctor, orthopedic surgeon, prosthetist, and "bionic" researcher will ask you - in a concerned professional way - "and, do you wear your prosthetic arm often, hopefully even daily?".

We also must accept that wearing "bionic" arms is nowadays assumed to constitute "human enhancement". This obviously is something I will directly and confrontatively label as bitter, ignorant, harsh and degrading cynicism.

If I do wear my prosthetic arm daily, in their view, that makes me a better human or even more human at the same time as I am, in their view, maybe not so much a better human but a "good doggy". Really and in fact, we have a reality split in that - at the same time and at once - my realities are two fold and split:

(1) Outside: On one hand, me trying to wear a prosthetic "super" hand - such as a "bionic" hand - makes my shape outline appear more like the shape outline of other people and so there is this aspect of possibly becoming a better, a deeper human. Conversely, the disfigurement of an arm stump thus makes me less of a human - and that is also what the face of many shee shee froo froo people, many so-called superficial people, will tell me when (or if) I look at them. Clearly, my amputated arm can make other people feel that I am less human. And it clearly does so on any given occasion. This is to a very small part remedied by me wearing this "bionic" apparatus - a machine for symbolism and "hope" far more than a machine for grasping, working, getting stuff done or feeling well.

(2) Inside: On the other hand, wearing a myoelectric arm is a really uncomfortable and skin damaging ordeal that is cumbersome and even in the best of all worlds painful. It feels bad to a degree, where I cannot possibly be totally human any more - as I have to push all normal human reactions such as pain, self respect, worry about the skin on my stump, fear of what all that pain does to me, etc. aside. There is a truly heartfelt authentic element in praising my stubborn wearing of a myoelectric "bionic" arm using the words "good doggy".

So, wearing a "bionic" myoelectric arm on the outside is an act of extreme humane-ness, it approximates the un-disfigured appearance like nothing else. As long as it does not approximate anything, it represents an 80'000 USD promise - and that is extreme in terms of symbolism.

At the very same time, what goes on inside the socket is beyond comprehension to many people - as it is not just not human, but worse, it has truly inhuman aspects. It lowers one, soul wise and as an individuum, in my view.

Here is how my stump looks like after a duration of 10 hours of wearing my iLimb Ultra Revolution at the office, typing and carrying light weight files, possibly holding a cup while rinsing it with water, photographed 1/2 and 7 hours after removing the prosthetic arm. To get the battery to last that long, I had switched the hand off for extended periods of time. Like, when I was typing. Never did my arm look like that after even hard work with the body powered arm such as jobs like hedge cutting [link], scrubbing [link] serious furniture moving [link] and so on. Yesterday I cut the hedges again, got rid of major amounts of stuff and moved a few hundred liters of green waste to the disposal with the body powered arm and really, the skin of my arm is not at all like what we see below - all is smooth and no problem. It is not the prosthesis as such that is a problem generally. It is the difficulty to achieve electrode fit and socket fit at once that really constitutes the "bionic" dilemma here, combined with hard lift and pull forces. Leg amputees can not understand from their own sockets, they experience different problems, not these. If it just was some simple body powered arms, or passive arms, we'd all be cool. Look, I am not saying "eeks, bad". I am saying, why the pansy boy type of immature excitement over what really is still problematic and massively overpriced technology when it comes to "bionic" arms? And here: can you reflect on the deeper meaning of what "bionic" arm wearing may entail?

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Stump warmers - for my arm I can mail order baby leg warmers [product info]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump warmers - for my arm I can mail order baby leg warmers [product info]; published October 9, 2011, 12:07; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=492.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump warmers - for my arm I can mail order baby leg warmers [product info]}}, month = {October},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=492}}


While knitting one's own tube socks can be an affordable and convenient thing, ordering them online is a real option as it turns out more people like to sew and knit stuff than meets the eye. So, why not take advantage of that.

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Stump warmers - sewing tubes [product info]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump warmers - sewing tubes [product info]; published October 9, 2011, 11:09; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=491.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump warmers - sewing tubes [product info]}}, month = {October},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=491}}


1 Comment

My god child and her family have one toy that is a tube knitting machine. It is made from plastic and as that it is prone to break. In fact, one part broke but her mother succeeded replacing it herself even though it was rather hard to get that done. But all in all most of us are rather crafty ; )

To keep my blue cold freezing under-circulated stump warm, as that reduces stump pain and phantom pain, a tube knitting option isn't necessarily bad to have so I figured y'all might want to have a look.

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Electric heating for my prosthetic arm [tech build / instructions]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Electric heating for my prosthetic arm [tech build / instructions]; published December 27, 2010, 01:43; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=378.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Electric heating for my prosthetic arm [tech build / instructions]}}, month = {December},year = {2010}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=378}}


2 Comments

I am suffering from the combination of cold and bad circulation in my stump. It causes a blend of stump pain, an increase in phantom sensation and ultimately phantom limb pain [6].

To specialists, this is a well known issue and not a rare problem; particularly, venous drainage problems have been documented to correlate with stump and phantom pains [1]. Vascular return is particularly a problem with longer forearm stumps [2,3], and in my instance, that issue was known and declared to me even before the amputation by the surgeon, however, having a long stump has a lot of advantages as well. Compressing the stump helps to decrease the cross section of my arm veins as all cutaneous veins are compressed and thus pressure is higher in the deeper veins - a well established observation also for legs, where a certain well balanced venous compression (but not too much of it) has been documented to increase flow [4,5 - see text cited with these references below for details about pressure]. What treats the congestion well is a relatively tight fit of a prosthetic socket, or a tight compression sock, or a tight bandage. I wouldn't just say snug, I'd really need it tight - but not too tight [6].

To make things worse, a vicious cycle seems to occur at the moment my poorly circulated stump is cooled down significantly. Then, circulation gets minimal rather quickly and pains of stump and phantom hand get severe and hard to bear. Normally, phantom sensations and pains as they occur daily are no big issue - one does get used to these. But that type of extreme pain is a warning signal. So I decided to take that signal serious and after getting what they call 'minor frostbite' on my stump from a skiing weekend, I went forward to research the issue of heating the prosthetic arm externally and to build such a heating from available parts. For my condition - bad venous drainage, bad vascular return, cold vicious cycle - a moderate but steady heating that would fit inside the prosthetic arm and that would last for a steady few hours and not peak over only minutes was what I needed.

Now seeing as if that is a really medical application, why not say one word about that. My arm stump has a reduced ability to sense temperature. That means if the darned thing gets too hot, there is a really good chance I will only know once it is too late. Logically I will opt for a less aggressive heating, and exclude heat pads (see below). As I am doing this completely cross label, using parts that were not designed for this application, I am doing this the usual test pilot way - test extensively, check extensively, but take a certain risk as well. If anyone was to sell such pads for prostheses you will have to get really good insurance, as stumps and prostheses in winter are a really complicated subject you may just not want to get into. This is for people that are in the position to try it out themselves and take any consequences necessary at any given point in time.

So, here we go.

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Stump socks / protectors for different applications II

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications II; published July 11, 2009, 06:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=197.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications II}}, month = {July},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=197}}


The PET bottle trick (step by step instructions here) looked so cool.

I am on my way to working out comfortable and functional interface solution, to get robust and functional arm stump protection. Also I am slowly getting my hand/s dirty in the domain of building some of my own stuff - and if just for testing out some 'spare parts'. Second last but not least I should also create a feel of 'amateur' and 'enthusiastic' not as to scare off our 'professionals'. Also, I always believe in full step by step documentation of stuff, and if only for later referral. Even in instances where it seems that I failed. No one can learn if failures are not available for reviewing.

So trying this one out came naturally.

Required material:

  • Alginate (cheap, web order)
  • Plaster cast (cheap, supermarket or web order)
  • PET bottle (try to get something a bit bigger than the correct size)

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Stump socks / protectors for different applications I

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications I; published November 15, 2008, 15:24; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=114.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569221279, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications I}}, month = {November},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=114}}


3 Comments

I am not always wearing the prosthesis or keeping my stump uncovered to air it out. Often, some protective clothing or stump socks are helpful.

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