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Following amputation or the loss of a limb, prosthetics allow a person to regain some of the lost function. Many prosthetics help amputees regain a sense of independence and freedom. Originally, prosthetics were fairly simple and only assisted with basic functions. Modern prosthetics are significantly more complex, and thus allow for many more actions similar to the biological limb. In the future, prosthetists hope to create prosthetics that function identically, or even better.

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1. Early Prosthetics

A vast majority of early prosthetics were passive; they were entirely immovable and essentially cosmetic. Most early prosthetics were held in place with leather straps. Tales of the Roman general Marcus Sergius describe his use of an iron hand that could hold his shield in combat. Pathologists have found multiple ancient Egyptian prosthetics consisting of wood and leather. During the middle ages, knights who were missing limbs could use special prosthetics to hold shields, lances, and swords.

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