Lower-Limb Prosthesis: When Can You Finally Have A Prothesis?

Wearing a prosthesis after an amputation is a viable option for every limb-loss patient. Wearing one depends on several factors, such as the type of disease you have or your body condition. Some may choose to wear a prosthesis to assist them in their living, while others may choose otherwise. Occasionally, some may use other alternatives until they can get their prosthesis.

The question is, when can you finally have a prosthesis? There are several factors to consider and fulfil before you can finally start wearing your prosthesis. We’ll discuss the main ingredients to success in the following section. Keep on reading to learn more.

Why do people use means other than the prosthesis?

If you have a lower-limb loss, wearing a prosthesis is your best option. However, most people wearing a prosthesis occasionally use a wheelchair, crutches, canes, or walkers. These devices can help when:

    • Your prosthesis is being repaired.
    • You are waiting for a new prosthesis.
    • You are recuperating from skin breakdown.
    • You have been fatigued from using your prosthesis.
    • You are experiencing balance or coordination problems.
    • Safety is a concern.

When can you finally have a prosthesis?

It’s worth knowing that you need a team of surgeons, nurses, therapists, social workers, and a prosthetist to work together for your surgery, rehabilitation, and prosthetic care. Before you get into the actual wearing of a prosthesis, you should have achieved the following main ingredients for success.

    • Successful Surgery: This entails a surgery that leaves a well-healed, well-shaped, and well-padded limb. The limb should have the best length for the type of prosthesis you will use. 
    • Physical Therapy: You should have an appropriate amount of physical therapy. The therapy should be able to keep your joints flexible, strengthen your remaining limb, teach you how to carry out activities of daily living and train you in using your prosthesis.
    • Prosthetic Care: A certified prosthetist is essential for your prosthetic care. They should be experienced in working with older amputees and can fit you with a lightweight limb. They offer components that will help you walk safely and comfortably.
    • Healthy Diet: A healthful diet should give you the needed nutrients for your body and the strength needed to work hard for recovery. 
      • Health Care: Other appropriate care of any other health problems should not be undermined and provided to you. 
    • Pain control: Pain management helps you deal with any pain during and after the surgery.

All these ingredients are essential for the overall success of your recovery and readiness for a prosthesis. Any missing ingredient may not make you a suitable candidate for a prosthesis. This holistic approach – from the surgery itself to physical therapy down to proper healthcare – is paramount to the overall equation.

At this point, you now have an idea as to what the whole process entails before you can finally wear a prosthesis. Do understand that a prosthesis is designed to assist you in living a normal life. Consider all the valuable information mentioned above and expect to undergo all the processes before finally wearing a prosthesis. 

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

What to Expect When Getting Fitted For a Prosthesis

Even if an amputation causes the loss of your body parts, life doesn’t end there. A prothesis exists as a replacement for a lost body part. With a prosthesis set for you to use, a new life awaits.

The prosthesis fitting and use can be a tricky period. Many amputees are eager to start the fitting process and use their new prosthesis immediately. However, the fitting process has two phases: the temporary or preparatory prosthesis and the final or definitive prosthesis. Along with these phases are multiple considerations that you should keep in mind.

To keep you guided, here’s what to expect about fitting and using your prosthesis.

​Temporary or Preparatory Prosthesis

The fitting for the new amputee starts when: (1) Swelling in the residual limb is under control, and (2) the suture line has healed, which typically takes four to six weeks after surgery.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Your physician will prescribe a prosthesis once the limb has healed. Your prosthetist and insurance company (or other payers) will determine the time for a new prosthesis.
  • Your prosthetist will examine and measure your residual limb. Along with this is setting your rehabilitation goals and the expectations you have for everyday life as a prosthetic user. Your prosthesis will take into consideration your lifestyle and will create a prosthesis that is fitting for your lifestyle and daily needs.
  • The structure of prosthesis for upper or lower extremity includes: a socket that fits over the residual limb, a strap or harness to aid in suspension, a sleeve or liner that helps you put on the socket, and various components including pylons, rotators, manual and electronic joints (hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist), and a foot, hand or other terminal device.
  • The socket is the most critical element in prosthetic design. It is where the prosthesis and the body connect. How the socket fits will affect how well you rehabilitate and recover.

Fitting the Temporary Socket

The next step in the process is creating a temporary socket. This applies to whether your prosthetist chooses traditional casting or scanning with Insignia. New amputees are expected to wear the temporary prosthesis for a few months as the residual limb continues to reduce in size and mature. On the other hand, people who have worn a prosthesis have a much shorter stage in the fitting process (typically for a few days to a few weeks).

Here’s what to expect:

  • Your prosthetist will create test sockets to see how your limbs contact with them.
  • Other components comprising your prosthesis will be added to the temporary socket soon after. They’ll be added as you can start to stand and walk or use your arm and hand. The temporary prosthesis does not usually have a cosmetic covering since adjustments have to be made continually as the residual limb decreases in size.
  • Part of your recovery and rehabilitation process is engaging in physical therapy during and after the fitting process. Some people will also need to have occupational therapy. Your physical and occupational therapists will design rehabilitation plans that suit your lifestyle goals.

Final or Definitive Prosthesis

The last part of the process is the final or definitive prosthesis. Your prosthetist will decide when it’s time to cast the final or definitive prosthesis. New amputees are more likely to use the final prosthesis several months after surgery. The prosthetist needs to make sure that the size and shape of the residual limb have finally stabilized. Experienced prosthetic users will have their casting for the definitive prosthesis occur quickly.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Your clinician will create a final custom socket and attach all other components of the prosthesis to it. Also, there will be options for a cosmetic covering. Prosthesis creation and fitting will require several visits and can take a few weeks to complete.
  • The terms “final” or “definitive” prosthesis are not necessarily absolute. This means that no prosthetic leg or arm is going to last forever. A prosthesis can last anywhere from two to five years, depending on daily usage and activity level. In some cases, this mechanical device needs to be repaired. At times, only single components ought to be replaced rather than creating an entirely new prosthesis.

We hope we have shed some light on what to expect about using your prosthesis, whether it’s the temporary one or the final product. When you know what to expect, the entire process will be much easier than you’d expect.

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

What You Should Know About Partial-Foot and Toe Amputees

Amputation may mean the loss of a part of your foot or some of your toes. However, it doesn’t mean that you lose the ability to live your life to the fullest. All it takes is considering its impact on your life, submitting to full recovery and rehabilitation, and relying on prosthetics to assist you in your life. For all you know, you can quickly bounce back to living your life soon after the surgery. 

Here’s a guide to understanding what you can expect as a new partial-foot or toe amputee.


Partial-Foot Amputation

If you are a partial-foot amputee, below are some of the things to expect:

Amputation Considerations: The initial process is your surgeon determining how much of your foot should be removed. The process includes how much of the bone can still be preserved while still providing a cushion for prosthetics. Also, how the remaining muscle, skin, and nerves affect the quality of life and how balance and gait can be preserved when walking. Ultimately, this will result in better balance or more comfortable prosthetic options after the surgery.

Recovery and Rehabilitation: After the surgery, the recovery process and rehabilitation will be set in place. First, you will have regular appointments with your doctor to change the dressings and monitor your healing progress. Second, you will be given medications for the pain and to fight infection. Once the wound has healed, the rehabilitation program will start. 

In other words, rehab is designed to help you adjust to a prosthesis and learn how to get around when not wearing one. First, you will start with a temporary prosthesis, before using a permanent prosthetic when the residual limb heals (usually within six months to a year). Second, you’ll have to push forward to walk without support. Before you know it, you will be able to resume normal daily activities such as walking, driving, and wearing conventional shoes with your prosthetic.

Partial-Foot Prosthetics and Shoes: When it comes to partial-foot prosthetics and shoes, they are usually custom-made. The goal is to fit your residual foot and provide you with the support lost from amputation. 

One, you need shoe inserts or custom shoes. A partial-foot insert is a rigid footplate for a standard shoe with raised areas to fill in space where your amputation occurred. Custom shoes are made to provide the same function and additional support for your balance and motion. Second, you need custom-moulded foot prosthesis. This has been designed to replace the missing area of your foot. These prostheses include contoured arch supports and carbon fibre keels to provide weight-bearing and natural motion.


Toe Amputation

On the other hand, if you had a toe amputation, below are some important considerations:

Toes’ Effect on Balance: Your toes provide balance and support when walking. Chances are, losing one or more toes can impact your balance. Missing any of the three middle toes can significantly affect your walking.

Recovery and Rehabilitation: After surgery, the pain will significantly improve after a week. As for the swelling, it can take about a month for it to subside. That said, you may need to wear a cast or special shoes for about two weeks. During the whole process, you need to follow your doctor’s advice related to your bandages and care of the surgery area. Soon enough, you will begin to walk again and may notice an affected sense of balance, but it will improve in due time. 

Toe Prosthetics: You may be required to use toe prosthetics if your balance remains an issue after rehabilitation. When it comes to a cosmetic replacement for your toe, there are options of prostheses available in the market. It can be made as rigid as required to give you additional support and balance while walking.


Final Words

We hope this has shed light on what it takes to live after a partial-foot or toe amputation. You can expect its impact on the quality of your life. However, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s advice and keep up with the recovery and rehabilitation process. You don’t have to worry about prosthetics as they are custom-made and can help you live normally. 

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

How Your Body & Mind Can Recover After a Foot Amputation

Diabetes can lead to leg infections that would require amputation to prevent blood poisoning that can threaten your life. If your leg has to be amputated because of diabetes, many feelings and thoughts must be racing through your mind. It is all right to be anxious, especially since you’ll know that your life will never be the same again without one leg.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) before diabetes foot amputation

Recovery begins before the amputation procedure itself. The mental and emotional trauma is already enough to visibly affect your health before the operation, which is why you need to undergo CBT sessions conducted by a psychologist. CBT sessions let you clear your thoughts and objectifies the necessity of surgery. It would also help you accept the inevitable and face a new life with one less leg while consolidating your sense of self-worth. 


Recovery immediately after amputation

Your doctors and nurses will monitor your vital signs after your surgery. Once the levels have normalized, you would be taken out of intensive care and into a regular hospital room where you might have to stay for another week or more. The nurse will change your wound dressings and administer painkillers. A physical therapist or chiropractor will also begin assisting you in doing exercises meant to prevent numbness and muscle shrinkage. During your stay at the hospital, you can talk to a prosthetics professional about the artificial leg or foot you’ll be needing.


Recovery at home

Depending on the severity of your surgical operation, you can be discharged as early as one week. From then on, you’ll have to take the lead to care for yourself. Among the first things that you’ll have to get used to is walking on your prosthetic leg comfortably. Many first-timers tend to hop around, which harms the remaining leg. The legs of diabetes patients are especially vulnerable to infection and bleeding, which is why you have to be careful. Any wound or strain on your leg or tears could risk you a second amputation. A full-time physical therapist can help you regain mobility safely and effectively. However, if you don’t have the money to hire a full-time physical therapist, you would need to figure out how to move normally by yourself. 

Only use medicine and painkillers your doctor recommended and avoid sweets. If you feel prolonged numbness on your stump or on the other leg, or if you experience bleeding or severe pain, call your surgeon immediately.


Dealing with side effects and complications

Foot amputations can cause real nerve pain and what is called “phantom foot pain,” where you feel pain from the amputated area. The body has gotten used to the existence of your foot, which is why the brain experiences phantom foot pain even after it’s physically gone. You might also have to undergo further surgery to remove and polish bone spurs left from your previous amputation. Acupuncture and pain medications are usually sufficient to help you cope with these issues. The phantom foot pain will eventually wear off on its own.


Mental health recovery

Losing a leg can physically and emotionally cause you to drop to the floor. Amputees can experience depression, denial, and suicidal feelings. Cognitive-behavioural therapy before and after the operation would help the patient cope with their situation. Having supportive friends and family can also help you move on from the ordeal. You can tell them what you feel and assist you in adjusting to your new lifestyle and a prosthetic leg.

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

Customer Service & Administration – new team-member Katarina Hallgren

In order to cope with the expansion of the company and assure a consistent and high level of service to our growing customer base, we hereby have the pleasure to introduce our newest team-member Katarina Hallgren. Katarina is well-aware that good service is really important and with her background from the bank- and insurance industry, she will be a great contribution to our team.