Background: The current study examines the relevance of prosthetic wrist movement to facilitate activities of daily living or to prevent overuse complaints. Prosthesis hands with wrist flexion/extension capabilities are commercially available, but research on the users' experiences with flexible wrists is limited.
Methods: In this study, eight transradial amputees using a myoelectric prosthesis tested two prosthesis wrists with flexion/extension capabilities, the Flex-wrist (Otto Bock) and Multi-flex wrist (Motion Control), in their flexible and static conditions. Differences between the wrists were assessed on the levels of functionality, user satisfaction and compensatory movements after two weeks use.
Results: No significant differences between flexible and static wrist conditions were found on activity performance tests and standardized questionnaires on satisfaction. Inter-individual variation was remarkably large. Participants' satisfaction tended to be in favour of flexible wrists. All participants but one indicated that they would choose a prosthesis hand with wrist flexion/extension capabilities if allowed a new prosthesis. Shoulder joint angles, reflecting compensatory movements, showed no clear differences between wrist conditions.
Conclusions: Overall, positive effects of flexible wrists are hard to objectify. Users seem to be more satisfied with flexible wrists. A person's needs, work and prosthesis skills should be taken into account when prescribing a prosthesis wrist.
- Prosthetic limbs
- User satisfaction
- Compensatory movements