Traveling With a Prosthetic Limb: What to Bring With You

If you’re an amputee who’s looking to travel the world, you need to understand how to take care of your prosthetic devices to make sure that they’re at peak quality wherever you go. The last thing that you would ever want to happen is to have your trip ruined because your prosthetics have been damaged. We have come up with the top tips for traveling with a prosthetic or orthotic device to ensure that you make the most of your trip. With that said, here are our top suggestions:

 

Planning Ahead

You need to make sure that you know the weather of the location you’re going. That doesn’t just mean finding out if it’s hot or cold either, as humidity, heat, and snow can all harm the joints of your prosthetics. If you don’t plan to prepare for the weather conditions and your day-to-day travel plan, your prosthetics are guaranteed to be put under more wear and tear than you’d like. It may even become damaged significantly. It’s not cheap to fix a prosthetic limb, so be sure that you plan your trip well ahead of time.

 

Packing the Essential Supplies

You need to pack the necessary prosthetic care essentials to make sure that the device stays in peak condition for as long as possible. Listed below are some of the essentials that you must have with you whenever you’re traveling with a prosthetic limb:

// Prosthetic Soap

Mild, antibacterial soap is something that you can’t ever go without if you have a prosthetic limb. You need to make sure that you keep the inside of the prosthetic clean so that there’s no mold or fungal growth that can cause skin irritations and a horrible smell.

// Baby Powder

If you’re traveling to somewhere that’s very hot an humid, you need to make sure you keep the area of the skin that will come into contact with the prosthetic dry to prevent rashes. Baby powder works wonders for this purpose, so be sure to bring a good amount along with you.

// Additional Self-Care Products

Additional supplies such as clean clothes, wet wipes, skin care products, and gel liners are things that you need to make sure you always have with you. Unlike your natural skin, stains don’t come off naturally from your prosthetic skin, so you need to make sure you clean it as soon as it gets dirty, as well as every time after use. Also, don’t forget to bring socks, suspension sleeves, and other protective layers with you.

 

Additional Tips:

Airplane Travel

If you’re traveling through an airport, you need to make sure you check the policies on prosthetics of the specific airlines you’re flying with. Some airlines don’t allow you to carry prosthetic limbs on board unless you have it on you, and it’s not very fun to have the TSA screen your bag, only to find a human leg inside. The best way to avoid this issue is to declare it to the ground staff before the screening so they can give you the appropriate instructions on what to do.

Non-Air Travel

If you’re not traveling on a plane, you need to make sure that the staff understands your needs so that they can provide you with all the assistance you need. It may not be as tricky or complicated as air travel, but the inconvenience of having to walk around with your prosthetics can be an issue, especially if you’re not used to it. Travel companies are usually more than happy to assist you, so be sure to let them know what you need.

Accommodation

Before you book your accommodation, you need to make sure that the hotel you’re staying at can take care of all of your needs. You don’t want to end up staying on the 10th floor of a hotel with no elevator as an amputee, so make sure you go with a choice that complements your condition the most.

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!

 

Prosthetic Legs: A Quick Breakdown & Overview

The human body is comprised of a combination of joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments, and they work in tandem with one another to create one functional body. What humans can achieve with their bodies is something that is unique to our species, and being able to enjoy all the activities to its fullest is a blessing.

Our legs are what carry us to where we want to be, and they have allowed our species to become what we are today. However, some are us have been unfortunate enough to have lost a leg, whether in an accident, while in military service, or in the process of doing their jobs. These cases are tragic, and it would be great if no one ever had to find themselves in such a situation. Unfortunately, this is the reality that we live in.

With the help of modern medical technology, humans have been able to create prosthetic limbs that can replace the lost ones, allowing the amputee to have more control over their lives. In this article, we’ll talk about the parts of prosthetic legs and how they work together to help amputees enjoy a higher quality of life.

The Limb

Much like a natural human leg, the majority of the prosthetic leg is the leg itself. Prosthetic legs are made from a model of your lost leg in conjunction with the rest of your body to ensure the best fit. The doctors will have to take the measurements of the amputees down to the slightest detail to ensure that they create the most functional leg possible.

There are two types of prosthetic legs: the below the knee (BK) and above the knee (AK) prosthesis. The choice between these two types of prosthetics will depend on where the limb cuts off, and you can infer their usage from the descriptive names. There are several sub-categories of prosthetics such as the hemipelvectomy, hip disarticulation, and foot amputations prosthesis.

The Socket

The socket is where the residual limb is placed into the prosthetic limb, and it’s where the movement of the prosthesis originates. The socket is developed from a plaster cast to ensure a perfect fit. A high-quality prosthetic socket won’t cause any irritation or pain, as it will be covered with a liner that will keep you comfortable.

Knees and Feet

The knees and feet are the critical parts of the prosthetics, as these are the parts that will have to handle the majority of the weight. What’s more is that these are the major joints of the leg, which means that they will have to move with you to make it feel as natural as possible. Nowadays, prosthetics limbs have a motion sensor and microprocessor that associates the flexing of the muscles in the stubs with the movements of the prosthetics. These are also where the cushion of the overall prosthetics are located.

Natural Movement

The prosthetics are controlled by the movement of the residual limb. The innovative technology allows the prosthesis to read the movement of the amputee and reflect that movement onto the prosthesis. There’s a cable that runs through the stretch of the prosthetic lake that pulls the limbs with your movement, allowing you to move your limbs naturally.

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!

Three Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Prosthesis

Losing a limb is an emotional experience for anyone, especially for a child and their family. The same can be said about getting a new prosthesis. Having to learn how to adjust to the new device and how to care for it can be extremely challenging – both for the child and also for the parents.

It is crucial that your child has all the support that they can get. As they go through this tough time, you have to assure them that they are not alone. This article will tell you how you can help your child navigate through this new life with a prosthesis.

Teach Them Basic Care

The most important thing that your child needs to understand is how to do basic care for their prosthesis. Both you and your child need to learn how to properly clean the prosthetic device, including the specific ways to clean socks and gel liners. Moreover, your child needs to learn the importance of avoiding water, sunscreen, and other chemicals.

There are also some circumstances that the prosthetic limb needs to be removed, and you should make sure that your child understands that as well. Although a more detailed explanation will be given to your child during measuring and fitting sessions, it is still important that your child knows the basics so that they will know what to expect.

Understand Their Concerns

A child that is too young to understand the significance of losing a limb and the trauma that comes with it might cope with it and get used to it a lot faster than an older child who wants to run around all the time. Therefore, the questions that they ask you about the prosthesis device will most likely depend on your child’s age.

For example, while a toddler might be curious about the functions of each component, while an older kid will be very emotional about going to school for fear of being teased or bullied. Teenagers, on the other hand, are more likely to be affected than younger kids as their primary concern is their body image. By considering what kind of concerns your child might have, you will know the best approach to talk to them.

Make Sure Your Prosthetist Is Always In the Picture

Getting advice and support from the professional is also a big part in helping your child adjust. Your prosthetist will be the key person that your child will look up to the most during this transition. They can provide you and your child with all the information and advice that they will need during the transition. Remember – your prosthetist is more than just the person who provides your child with an artificial limb, but they are also someone who is compassionate and understanding of what your child is going through.

They have seen and helped a lot of children who have been through the same transition as your little one, which means that they know just the right way to help. Therefore, if your child has any questions – whether it’s about the prosthetic device or about emotional challenges that they may be going through – you should encourage them to speak up and not be shy with their prosthetist.

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.

Common Questions About Limb Loss & Prosthesis’s

If your doctor has given you the bad news that one (or more) of your limbs will have to be amputated, chances are that you have many questions about how your life will be without it. There will undoubtedly be a few challenges that you will need to overcome with the support from your family and friends. Let’s take a look at a few common questions that people ask about limb loss.

What’s phantom limb syndrome?

This is a common question that is asked quite often. Phantom limb pain is a very common condition that amputees may feel after surgery. It is when you feel a sensation where your limb used to be. Sometimes this can be a painful or uncomfortable sensation. If you are experiencing this after your amputation, you should seek a therapist as soon as possible.

How can I pay for my prosthesis?

(If you are in the US):
Paying for your prosthesis may be one of your major concerns. If you have insurance, there is a chance that they will cover it. Be sure to ask your insurance company about this. You should also be sure to keep all medical records and receipts for them since they will need this information to submit the claim. If you do not have health insurance or your insurance will not cover it, you may be eligible for an assistance program. Ask your medical care provider about your options for payment and programs.

(If you are in the EU):
Check with your prosthetist or government if there is any help they can give you when it comes to payments for your prosthetics.

Must I wait a long time after surgery before getting a prosthesis?

This varies from person to person; everybody is different. Most patients will get a temporary one a few weeks after surgery. You may have to wait a few months after surgery for your wounds to heal before going for a fitting. This is because you cannot get fitted for a custom prosthesis until you have healed from any inflammation or swelling. After you’ve been fitted, physical therapy will help introduce you to moving with a prosthesis.

Will a prosthesis last a long time?

Prosthetics for amputees are always getting better as technology does. The newest technology prosthetics will last you a long time but will depend on whether or not it’s fitted correctly. The longevity of it will also be impacted by the quality of the materials it is made with as well as the way you maintain and care for it. Your activity level will also play a part. If cared for properly, you can increase the lifespan of your prosthetic, for up to four years. You will still need to have it changed every few years or when needed. Therefore, see if you can cover it with your insurance. It is worth it to make sure that you have coverage for replacements since you may need to pay for a new one every four years or so.

How many times must I see my prosthetist?

Even once you start to get the hang of using your prosthetic more freely, it is still important to see your prosthetist regularly. Your medical care provider service will recommend the amount of schedules appointments you will need, but it’s recommended to continue to see your prosthetist throughout any of the times you need their expertise for your prosthetic. You want to make sure that your prosthetic is as functional and comfortable as possible. If you feel that there’s an issue with your prosthetic, don’t hesitate to give your medical care provider a call.

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 to Learn to Walk Again With Your Prosthesis

After losing a leg and getting it replaced by a prosthetic, the process of learning to walk again can be difficult, not to mention that it can be incredibly stressful. That being said, it’s important to note that it is very much possible.

The process will be long, and you won’t be able to regain your strength overnight. This is why you need to have patience and proceed with a positive attitude. You will also have to be committed to doing physical therapy so that you can learn to use this new part of you in your everyday life.

 

Make Sure Your Prosthetic Leg Fits

Before you learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg again, you’ve got to get it to fit you. Everyone has different levels of amputation – some have above the knee amputations, others below the knee, and some even at the ankle. This means that you will need to have a prosthetic leg that is designed specifically for you.

It is imperative that you have a comfortable fitting socket. If you have a secure and comfortable fit between the residual limb and prosthesis, you will be able to control your movement more effectively. Moreover, you need to take care of your prosthesis by regularly cleaning the socket area so that it won’t cause any skin irritations. When you receive the first fitting of your prosthesis, consult with your clinician regarding maintenance so that you can keep it in good condition.

 

Learning to Walk Again

At the beginning of the process, you may have to use a few assistant tools that your therapist recommends. The worse thing that you could do is rush the process and end up hurting yourself even further. Also, when you’re walking outside on your own, you need to be careful and take it slow so that you can be comfortable with the new surroundings. You will have to encounter challenges such as stairs or hills.

The most important thing is that you remember your therapist’s guidance and follow through in order to find the most effective way to navigate through these challenges. Moreover, you need to make sure that the width of your foot placement should only be two to four inches apart. That is because wider stances can tire you out quickly. As for your step length, heel to toe is the safest starting point. You can gradually increase the length as you gain more strength and become more comfortable.

 

More Exercises

Even after you’re starting to walk comfortably again, you still need to continue learning new exercises, such as balancing on one leg, bouncing a ball in place, walking, and balancing a tall stick on your hand. Later on, you will want to practice more practical exercises that are useful in your daily life, including walking on uneven surfaces, falling down and getting up, getting in and out of a car, and carrying items while walking.

 

Takeaway

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t give up. There are some people who develop depression as a result of feeling like they’ll never be the same again. It’s understandable – you’ve quite literally lost a piece of yourself. However, not all hope is lost. You can enjoy a great quality of life – you just have to work hard to get there. Don’t go down the road of hopelessness. Remember to keep up a good attitude and go to physical therapy regularly, and in time, you will be able to fully embrace your prosthetic as a part of yourself.

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 to Care for Your Prosthetic Limbs and Residual Skin

No matter what the case that leads you to wear a prosthetic limb may be, it’s fair to say that prosthetics have allowed you to regain some control over your life. To make sure that your prosthetics remain as functional as possible, you have to know how to take care of it. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. Here’s how you can care for your prosthetic limbs and residual skin:

 

Liners and Interfaces

The liners and interfaces of the prosthetic limbs are the most important parts of your prosthetics outside of the joint themselves. The skin of prosthetics are usually made of silicone or other types of polymer, and they may not be the most comfortable materials to keep in consistent contact with.

If your prosthetic is not well cared for, it can cause irritations, rashes, and other skin issues to form, especially near the stub where the prosthetic is placed. This is what the liners are for – to be the cushion between the prosthetics and the skin. You have to make sure that both the skin and the liners of the prosthetics are clean in order to prevent fungi, bacteria, and viruses from thriving there.

Make sure you wash your liners every day after use, much like you would with your laundry. You should always carry some extra liners with you in case you get too sweaty or uncomfortable. Also, you shouldn’t use harsh chemicals or alcohol to clean the surface of your prosthetic skin, as that can damage it and cause it to become malformed, and that’s not a good look. If there are any issues with your prosthetic skin, be sure to take it to your prosthetist, as they will know your skin condition and what to do to keep the prosthetic in the best condition possible.

 

Skin Care for Your Stub

You should never neglect to care for the skin where your prosthetic will be placed, as it’s the area that’s most likely going to develop sores or rashes if you don’t take good care of it. Before you put on your prosthetic, be sure to wash the stub with mild soap and pat it dry with clean cloth. Then, wrap it up. Repeat the process at the end of the day to prevent any fungal or bacterial growth on the skin.

The stub may have an opening where bacteria can gather develop into a serious skin condition such as infection or skin breakdown. These conditions are highly problematic, and they can be life-threatening at times. You have to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If there are unusual discomfort in the area or if you feel abnormally itchy, that may be a sign that you have to go visit your dermatologist. Avoid harsh scratching, as that could cause the condition to spread.

 

Additional Tips

The skin near the stubs can be slightly thicker than the rest of your body due to the imperfect regeneration. It’s typically a good idea to moisturize the stub, but not if there’s an ingrown hair there. You should avoid shaving the stub, as it could cause an ingrown hair, which may cause an infection to develop. If you notice such a hair growing out of place, don’t try to pick at it or remove it by yourself. Instead, let the doctor examine and deal with it for you, as that will ensure that there’s no risk of infection and that your skin can remain as healthy as possible.

Also, since the stub will be covered by the prosthetic, it may be highly sensitive to sunlight and pollutants, so you want to make sure that they are always protected. Applying sunscreen and specialized skin care product for prosthetic wearers may be your best bet. Another thing you need to keep in mind that if you lose the majority of the nerves in the area, it can cause you to lose some sensation in the stub. You have to make sure you keep your residual limb away from a source of extreme heat or cold to avoid being scalded unknowingly.

If you need a prosthetic foot or leg then get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

On training, swimming and finding time

Halmstad swimming pool, 14 November 2014

Christoffer Lindhe has previously swum at elite level and moreover competed in 2 Paralympics (Beijing and London). We frequently receive questions about how he currently swims and trains, now that he is no longer an active elite swimmer. In the video you can see how Christoffer swims, which aids he uses and how he finds time to train, despite the fact that his major focus today is as CEO of Lindhe Xtend.

On tour in Norway – on the art of travelling

Oslo in Norway, 6 October 2014

Christoffer Lindhe has done a lot of travelling, both during his active swimming career, the Paralympics in Peking and London for example, but also with the Lindhe Xtend company which develops user friendly prostheses, and when giving lectures. How is it possible to travel smart and what small tips and tricks does Christoffer have to offer? See the entry from Holmenkollen in Norway where Lindhe Xtend tests their prosthetic feet.