The use of Prosthetics have been referenced all the way back to 3500 BC. The Rig-Veda, an ancient poem of India and written in Sanskrit tells a story of a warrior named Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle and was given a iron leg prosthetic so she could return to battle. The oldest prosthetic found was a wooden toe dated between 1550-1300 BC. Prosthetics were also widely used in the medieval times.

16th Century In the 16th century the European countries were becoming more centralized which led to much development in science, including the development of prosthetics. A French man called Ambroise Pare made the most contributions of his time. He made a hand and leg prosthetic that was revolutionary to its time and showed basic prosthetic function.
19th Century Although not much prosthetic development occurred in the 18th century, much prosthetic advancement was made during the 19th century. The civil war gave way to many major advancements including the start of prosthetic companies AA Marks and JE Hanger. In 1800, James Pott designed a leg prosthetic which was called the "Angelesey Leg". The Angelesey Leg came to the US in 1839. There, it was patented by Selpho who also improved upon it. The Angelesey Leg became known as the American Leg after AA Marks improved on it as well in 1856. Soon after that, the "Bly" leg was patented in 1858.
20th Century During the 20th century, extraordinary progress has been done in prosthetic research and development. In 1912, the first aluminum prosthetic was made and the voluntary opening hook was invented. Both of the World Wars also helped contribute to prosthetic development. Both of the wars brought a need to better prosthetic technology and shortly after World War II, America created the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association or A.O.P.A. Around the same time, the Committee on Artificial Limbs of the National Research Council was created in 1945. In the mid 1940s prosthetic education courses were making their way into universities. By the 1960s, many famous universities such as UCLA and Northwestern university were establishing postgraduate programs in prosthetics.. The prosthetic companies STAR, Hosmer and ROL developed many rotational devices during 1974-1976. In addition, Prosthetics for recreational sports started being developed in the 1980s. The SAFE leg was also developed in 1980.