What Were Prosthetics Made From in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, prosthetics were made from a variety of materials that were available at that time. These materials varied depending on the culture and the technological advancements of the era. It’s fascinating to see how far we have come in the field of prosthetics since then.

Prosthetics in Ancient Egypt

One of the earliest recorded instances of prosthetics can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where they made prosthetic toes out of wood and leather. These artifacts date back to 950-710 BC and can be found today at the Cairo Museum in Egypt. The Egyptians also used gold and silver to make prosthetic limbs for royalty.

Prosthetics in Ancient Greece

The Greeks also had a fascination with prosthetics. They created artificial legs and arms using iron, bronze, and copper.

They even designed a type of hand prosthesis that could hold objects, called a “cheirourgos.” The word “cheirourgos” means “hand-worker” in Greek.

Prosthetics in Ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, amputees wore wooden legs that were strapped onto their bodies with leather. The legs were designed to look like real legs and were often painted to match the skin tone of the wearer.

Prosthetics in Medieval Times

During medieval times, prosthetic limbs were often made from iron or steel. These prostheses were heavy and uncomfortable but allowed amputees to walk with support. Wealthy individuals could afford more advanced versions that had movable joints.

The Advancements during Renaissance

During the Renaissance period, advancements were made in prosthetic design by using a combination of metal, leather, and wood. Prostheses became lighter and more flexible due to these new materials.

The Modern Day Prosthetics

Today’s prosthetics are far more advanced than those of ancient times. They are made using high-tech materials like carbon fiber and titanium, which make them lightweight and durable. Prosthetic limbs can be customized to fit the needs of the individual, with some even having the ability to be controlled by the user’s thoughts.


It’s incredible to see how far we have come in prosthetic design since ancient times. From wooden toes to thought-controlled bionic arms, technology has come a long way in improving the lives of amputees. However, we must not forget the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancestors who were able to create prosthetics from whatever materials they had available.