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Upper Limb Difference: The Terminology Explained

Updated: Feb 13, 2023


words describing upper limb difference

ExpHand Prosthetics supports people with an upper limb difference, whether congenital or acquired, but why do we use the term "upper limb difference"?


People may be more familiar with terms such as "limb loss", "limb deformity" or "congenital limb abnormality" which are more often used by medical professionals. At ExpHand Prosthetics, we prefer to use "upper limb difference" as it is a positive and empowering term. Another term that you may hear is "lucky fin" - and indeed one of our favourite limb difference charities is called The Lucky Fin Project. This term comes from the film Finding Nemo, as Nemo himself has one fin smaller than the other.


Limb differences are diverse and can affect one or both arms or hands. Limb differences include having shortened arms, missing bones in the hand or arm, missing joints such as the wrist or the elbow, or webbed or completely absent fingers (ranging from one to all fingers on a hand). People may also have nubbins, which are small stumps of soft tissue that usually form where a finger or thumb would have developed.


Where can I find more information on upper limb difference?


Great question, and you'll be pleased to find out that right here on the ExpHand website you can find plenty of informative articles covering life with a limb difference aimed at adults (whether they're the one with the limb difference or parents of a limb different child), but they are accessible for limb different children too. You can visit our blog archive right now by clicking this link, and get in touch with our team directly (for instance if you have any questions that you'd like to ask) via our contact us page, or through social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Likewise social media is also a great way to reach out to the limb different community at large, where you can find support from people who understand the issues that a limb different life can bring.


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