Secondary Injuries and Farming with an Amputation or SCI 3.ppt

Secondary Injuries and
Farming with an
Amputation or Spinal Cord
Therese Willkomm, PhD, ATP
National AgrAbility Project
Prosthetic Entanglement
I was unloading hay, bales of hay with twine and
it’s got a little bit of a hook on it and it caught
the twine. 80-pound bales of hay are flying and I
am about 150 – 160 pounds. I just went along
for the ride. The ride wasn’t bad, it’s the sudden
stop that gets you.
Suggested Improvements for Lower
Extremity Prosthetic Devices:
A lower extremity prosthesis that will function
better when walking through a field (e.g.
soybeans) or on an incline surface
A foot that bends when it gets caught in weeds
Test sockets that are a little more durable for
doing farm chores
A better socket solution for providing adequate
Moisture control and protection during cold or
hot weather
A prosthetic leg that you can kneel on
Suggested Improvements for Upper
Extremity Prosthetic Devices:
Titanium wrist and elbow units that don’t break
A cable that won’t fray
Provide extra screws and nuts
Titanium pins
A wrist unit that moves
A quick release harness
Suggestions Made By Farmers
“Take your time, try to analyze the situation
before you get into it. Recognize your limitation,
not to push yourself. Ask for help when you
need it, it can be hard to do that, too. Don’t put
yourself into a dangerous spot if you absolutely
don’t have to.”
“I learned whenever I fall to tuck my arm in”
“I Always make sure that when I am getting off
my tractor, I always step on my good leg.”
“You have to slow down a little bit.”
“Don’t jump! Step down”
“Don’t hop on one leg because it hampered my
“I think, don’t overuse a body part more than it’s
designed for and be careful with your need to pull
yourself, be careful how you are doing it. If you need to
walk more with one leg than with the other, don’t
overdo it. Your joints and muscles can’t take that. Also,
big issue, keep the weight down.”
Farming will continue to be a labor intensive occupation
requiring the worker to perform tasks that a wheelchair
or prosthetic device was not designed to do.
Farmers, outdoor enthusiasts, and others who use this
equipment can benefit from new designs and new
materials that are more durable.
More documentation and research needed to justify cost
benefit of recommended improvements in prosthetic
devices and wheelchairs when used on the farm.
Slowing down and think before doing
Split second reactions – behavior doesn’t change
United States Department of Agriculture
The Cooperative State Research, Education
and Extension Service (CSREES),