Prosthesis adventures – Part 1

Prosthesis adventures – Part 1

I just got my first ever prosthetic arm. It’s not one of those fancy electronic hands where you can move “your” fingers. Instead, it’s one with a hook, custom-made for me by Hempel. Functionality above aesthetics. As a start, I wanted to be able to cross-country ski with a pole in my left hand, to do pull-ups with a good posture and to give out rope with my left arm when belaying. Then I figured that I could also use it on the campus board and finger board. And it would be totally cool to get an ice axe tool with it at one point (as a friend suggested). Probably I’ll find even more uses for it as I start practicing. 

For now, here is a short video of my first testing: campus board, finger board and pull-ups. Kind of a baseline.

After some practice, I’ll report back on how it’s working out and discuss its other features.

So far, for me the most beneficial aspect of it is that I can have a (more) symmetric upper-body posture during some of my training. I will especially need to train to keep my left shoulder to the back when doing the exercises because I realized that I always have it at the front (partially to give extra length). In general, it will be easier to work on a good posture with it.

Now a bit about the mechanics of how it is attached to my arm: there is a strap that uses the elbow to keep the device on my arm. However, because I can actually move my left wrist up and down a bit, I’m also supposed to just push down with my wrist to keep my hand from slipping out of the device. For example, when I’m doing pull-ups (last segment in the video), I can also just grip in the prosthesis with my left arm and not use the elbow-strap. As everything, this will also need some training.

I’ll keep you posted how it is working out for me. I’m looking forward to the experimenting!

2 thoughts on “Prosthesis adventures – Part 1

  1. Hello Melinda,

    I ‘am very happy to see your first experimentations with a climbing prosthesis!!!

    I have tested recently a very similar hook shape as in your video (in a more distal position than my old hooks and with its extremity closer to the stump axis) it is working better, especiallly to crimp small holds and avoid parasitical hook rotations during suspensions, and its efficient also for larger hook shapes….



    1. Hi René-Paul, I’d be interested to learn more about your experiments. I’m very excited about the new possibilities with the prosthesis!

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