Work injuries that result in an amputation can be some of the most serious and disabling type of workplace injury. Amputations can occur as a consequence of machine operation, such as use of power presses, saws, grinders, conveyors, milling machines, and also during materials handling activities.
The devastating effects of an amputation is not only physical, but also psychological trauma and emotional discomfort. The amputation site can cause reduced mechanical stability and practical limitations such as increased use of the opposite limb.
A further potential complication of amputation is the phenomenon of “phantom limb” – where the injured worker reports they can actually feel body part that is no longer there. The symptoms of the phantom pain can include aching, burning, and even movement. Researchers believe that such symptoms relate to the relationship of the brain with the body, which mimics information to the rest of the brain about a limb regardless of whether is exists or not.
Life after an amputation is a challenge that does not have to be faced alone. There is a wide range of treatment options to assist an injured worker to restore function and emotional well being following an amputation, including exciting advances in prosthetics.