World’s oldest available prosthetic limbs are artificial toes found with a female egyptian mummy.
This Egyptian prosthetic toe dates back to 950 BC and volunteers without a big toe showed the prosthetics would have made walking around in ancient Egyptian sandals much easier, suggesting they were not just used in burial or in some other non-practical way.
Ofcourse, the oldest recorded history of Prosthesis and artificial limbs were mentioned in Rig Veda
Researchers have found two such prosthetic toes, one is the Greville Chester toe, now in the British Museum, which dates back before 600 BC. and is made of cartonnage, an ancient type of papier maché made with a mixture of linen, animal glue and tinted plaster.
The other is the wood and leather Cairo toe at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which was found on a female mummy near Luxor and is thought to date back to between 950 and 710 B.C.
These two are older than the bronze and wooden Roman Capua leg, which dates back to 300 BC.
For the voltuneers, false toes did not cause any high-pressure points, suggesting the prosthetics were relatively comfortable.
The Greville Chester toe, named after the reverend who discovered it in Thebes near present-day Luxor in Egypt, is made of cartonnage, which is a type of papier maché made by soaking linen in animal glue and painting it with tinted plaster. It is shaped like a right big toe and at one time held a false toenail. The artificial toe shows considerable signs of wear, the researchers said, including signs of rubbing.
Unlike the ownerless Greville Chester, the Cairo toe was found fastened onto the right toe of a female mummy identified as Tabaketenmut who lived some time during the period from 950-710 B.C. “Tabaketenmut may have had diabetes, which could have caused ischemic gangrene in the toe. The stump subsequently healed without the need for stitches,” the researchers wrote.
The toe had certain features, such as a simple hinge, that might have served to mimic the toe joint, including a chamfered, or beveled, front edge, and a flattened underside for stability. Both toes sported eight lacing holes on the inner edge and four on the outer, likely to attach the toe onto the foot or fasten it onto a sock or sandal, the researchers added.
“The wear on the Greville Chester toe and the important design features on the Cairo toe led me to speculate that these toes were perhaps worn by their owners in life and not simply attached to the foot during mummification for religious or ritualistic reasons,” they quoted.