After a successful amputation, a new life awaits those who will be living with prosthetic limbs. Sure, living with prosthetic can be quite challenging. If you are a lower-limb prosthetic user, you need to adjust to having a new mechanical part of your body. Over time, the prosthetic is said to become an extension of your body. Getting there, however, is a challenge.
Thus, the use of prosthesis involves a 50/50 effort between you and your prosthetist. Even longtime wearers of a prosthesis can sometimes experience minor setbacks. The new ones may also find it hard to adjust. Not to mention the many prosthetic considerations to take note of — from wearing to cleaning to maintaining your prosthetic and your condition.
That said, here are five things that you need to remember when wearing a prosthetic. It pays to be wary of these considerations and not to take your prosthesis for granted.
Have a Regular Checkup with Your PCP
First off, it’s crucial to have a regular checkup with your Primary Care Physician (PCP). Visit your general doctor at least once every six months. This is in order to discuss the condition of your residual limb. You will also need to check the function of your prosthesis with your doctor. If there is something that bothers you such as new prosthetic needs (For instance new liners, socks, or shrinkers), your prosthesis no longer fitting, or certain discomfort or instability, tell your doctor. This is so he or she can immediately act on it by writing a prescription for you.
Visit Your Prosthetist
Apart from your regular PCP, visiting your prosthetist at least every six months is equally important. You should do this even if you think nothing is wrong. That being said, if you notice that something feels off with your limb or prosthesis, schedule an appointment with your prosthetist immediately. You can do this even in between scheduled visits to your prosthetist.
Check Your Medical Insurance Coverage
It pays to be informed about your medical insurance coverage. Whether you are covered by private healthcare insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, you need to understand the terms of your insurance coverage. There may be corresponding deductibles or copays that apply; hence, you may have to shell out some money. Some medical insurance packages do not include prosthetics as a covered benefit. Thus, you may have to buy a secondary coverage policy so that more of your prosthetic expenses are covered since you will be using them for your lifetime.
Know Your K-level
Furthermore, it is imperative that you know what your K-level is. You also have to determine how it affects the components your prosthetist can use when fabricating your prosthesis. The K-level is employed to test the amputee’s mobility level used throughout the medical insurance community. This level can be determined by your PCP and/or by your prosthetist. The levels can range from K-0 to K-4, with the latter indicating a very active or athletic individual.
Maintain Personal Hygiene
Finally, what better way to ensure prosthetic function and your health condition than to maintain good personal hygiene? This is particularly very important for lower-limb amputees, knowing that it relates to your limbs and entails daily cleaning of the inside of your liners. That said, pay particular attention to your sound foot and leg. Be wary of dry skin, blisters, and ulcers which can lead to infections. Taking such infections for granted may lead to another amputation surgery. It’s always best to maintain a level of cleanliness throughout your body.
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