Going Out as an Upper Limb Amputee: What you Need to know

Stepping out into the bustling world, especially as an upper limb amputee, can stir up a mix of emotions.

From the thrill of engaging in your favourite activities to a hint of nerves about how it’ll all pan out. 

If you’re nodding along, know that you’re not alone. 

Whether it’s catching up over a cuppa in a cosy café, diving into a concert’s electric atmosphere, or simply running errands, each outing is a journey filled with its own set of experiences and learning curves.

Embarking on these ventures, you might wonder, “How will people react?” or “What’s the best way to handle everyday interactions smoothly?” 

Fear not! 

This post is all about giving you practical advice and tips to navigate the social seas with ease and confidence. We’re here to help you tackle those moments head-on, ensuring that your outings are as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Adjusting to Public Perception

First up, let’s chat about the elephant in the room: public perception. 

It’s no secret that people’s curiosity can sometimes lead to stares or questions. While most of it comes from a place of genuine interest or unawareness, it can feel a tad overwhelming and at worst, incredibly uncomfortable. 

Here’s a silver lining, though – you control the situation.

If you’re up for a chat, a simple “It’s a long story, but…” can pave the way for a positive exchange. On days when you’d rather keep to yourself, a polite “I’d prefer not to discuss it” is perfectly okay. It’s up to you. It’s okay not to be consistent or to set boundaries around what you want to talk about.

Remember, you’re in control. No is a complete sentence. Hold your boundaries.

Choosing the Right Prosthetic for the Occasion

Selecting prosthetics or assistive devices for social outings can sometimes feel like choosing the right outfit – what works best for the occasion? 

It’s all about striking that balance between comfort and function. 

For a laid-back meet-up, your everyday prosthetic might be just the ticket, offering familiarity and ease. Or you might opt to go without. 

If it’s somewhere new, then you might opt for the prosthetic that would attract the least (or most) attention, depending on how you’re feeling. 

The key is to wear your prosthetic or non-prosthetic choice without any worry.

Dressing for Confidence and Comfort

Speaking of outfits, let’s delve into dressing up. 

If you can, wear your favourite outfit. Dressing for yourself can help boost your mood and feed your confidence. 

Additionally, finding clothes that accommodate your prosthetic while also making you feel like a million quid is crucial. 

The good news? 

Adaptive clothing has come a long way, with options that blend style with accessibility.

Look for brands that understand the need for easy-to-manage closures, adaptable fits, and stylish designs. And remember, a few custom adjustments to your existing wardrobe can also work wonders. It’s all about creating a look that boosts your confidence and reflects your personality, enabling you to step out with your best foot forward. The Apputee app can help you find what you need.

Navigating Social Interactions

Navigating the social scene involves more than just showing up; it’s about engaging, enjoying, and experiencing every moment to its fullest. With this spirit in mind, let’s dive into the nuances of dining out, engaging in conversations, and selecting activities that enrich your social life.

Dining Out: Practical Tips and Tricks

Whether it’s a cosy brunch spot or a chic dinner venue, eating out should be an enjoyable experience.

But when you’re an upper-limb amputee, the little things—like managing cutlery or navigating a buffet—can seem daunting. 

Here’s the good news: a bit of planning can make a world of difference.

Firstly, scouting out accessible restaurants that are known for their accommodating staff can set the stage for a relaxed meal. Don’t shy away from calling ahead to inquire about accessibility features or to request a table that suits your needs.  Apps like Sociability can help you to find the right one.

When it comes to cutlery, there are adaptive utensils designed with comfort and functionality in mind, perfect for a hassle-free dining experience. 

And if you’re in a group, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pre-planning. Sharing your preferences with friends or family can help avoid awkward moments, ensuring everyone can focus on the delicious food and great company.

For your first meal out, take a friend with the personality you need. Do you want someone who can laugh along with you every time you fumble your cutlery? Or perhaps a poker-faced friend who’s more likely to pretend that nothing is going on. 


The way we greet and interact with others often involves our hands—from handshakes to gestures that add colour to our stories. 

As an upper limb amputee, finding comfortable alternatives to these social norms can make interactions smoother and more enjoyable.

For greetings, a warm smile or a nod can be just as effective as a handshake. If you’re comfortable, offering your other hand or even a light elbow bump can bridge the gap. The key is to do what feels natural to you, setting the tone for a positive interaction.

Sometimes the other party might be nervous to make the first move, so don’t be afraid to break the ice if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, embrace the awkwardness and just do nothing. Afterall, amputation comes with a learning curve, and no-one is expecting you to get it exactly right.

Participating in Activities and Events

Engaging in activities and attending events can be incredibly rewarding, offering a chance to connect with others, pursue interests, and simply have a good time. The secret to a fulfilling outing lies in selecting the right events and doing a bit of homework beforehand.

Look for activities that align with your interests and offer a comfortable level of accessibility. Whether it’s a painting class, a live music gig, or a sports event, knowing what to expect in terms of accessibility can help you enjoy the experience fully. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to event organisers for information on access, seating arrangements, or any specific accommodations you might need.

Additionally, embracing technology and adaptive equipment can open up a world of possibilities. From using voice-activated devices to assist in photography to exploring new hobbies that accommodate your needs, the goal is to find joy in the activities you love.

As we navigate these aspects of socialising and going out, it’s clear that with a dash of preparation, a sprinkle of confidence, and the right mindset, the world is your oyster. 

Finding Support and Community

Embarking on the journey of life as an upper limb amputee can sometimes feel isolating, but remember, you’re far from alone. Finding a community of individuals who share similar experiences can be a game-changer, providing not just support but also a wealth of shared knowledge and friendship.

Peer support groups, both online and in-person, offer a space to exchange stories, advice, and encouragement. These communities can be a fantastic resource for discovering new coping strategies, and adaptive products, or simply a place to vent on tough days. Don’t underestimate the power of connection—being part of a community that understands can make all the difference.

Advocating for Accessibility

While enjoying social outings is a significant aspect of life, encountering accessibility barriers can be a frustrating hurdle. However, every challenge also presents an opportunity to advocate for change. Feel free to voice the need for more inclusive, accessible environments, you can help shape a world that welcomes everyone.

Whether it’s suggesting improvements to a local venue, participating in advocacy groups, or sharing your experiences to raise awareness, your voice matters. Small changes can lead to big impacts, making social spaces more accessible and enjoyable for all. You don’t have to, but sometimes it feels good to get concerns off your chest.

Conclusion: Embracing Every Moment

As we wrap up this journey through navigating social outings as an upper limb amputee, remember that each experience is a step towards more enriching adventures. It’s about embracing the opportunities, learning through the challenges, and celebrating the victories, no matter how small.

Going out and about is more than just stepping outside; it’s about connecting, experiencing, and living life to its fullest. 

And if you ever find yourself needing a bit of encouragement or a friendly tip, know that your community is always here, ready to support you on your journey. Let’s keep the conversation going—share your own experiences and tips in the comments below. Together, we can build a more accessible, understanding, and inclusive world, one outing at a time.

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