August 1, 2012

It is hard to imagine not being inspired by Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius ran his track events on two prosthetic legs, and they didn’t look like any prostheses most of us had ever seen before. Those legs, though, are examples of how far the science and art of artificial limbs have come in the last few decades.

Pistorius needs his legs because of a birth defect. Some people have lost a limb to disease, like cancer or diabetes. Members of the Armed Forces are coming home from Afghanistan with serious injuries from roadside bombs, including amputated arms or legs. A car accident in Portland, or a motorcycle accident in eastern Oregon — there are any number of ways a person can end up needing a prosthesis.

One man spoke recently about his own experiences. When he was 17 years old, he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. The accident changed his life — and helped him change others’ lives. He is now a counselor and trainer at a company that researches and manufactures prostheses.

His said his first prosthetic leg was wooden, held in place by a metal harness and a leather waist belt. It was uncomfortable and unwieldy; in fact, he said he still has scars from some of the old models. The heavy plastic models weren’t much better.

Over time, things have improved significantly. We will discuss the new and emerging technologies of prosthetic limbs in our next post.

Source:, “Prosthetics improve significantly from previous years,” Bobby Shuttleworth, Aug. 20, 2012

Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Portland car accident page.


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