So You're Getting a Prosthesis, Here is What You Should Know

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After last weeks post on tips post amputation, you should be progressing very well after your surgery. You have worked on keeping your residual limb positioned correctly, stretching and strengthening your residual and sound limb, desensitizing, and maintaining limb care and hygiene. One thing we did not cover was residual limb shaping in preparation for your prosthesis. If you choose to have a prosthesis and are eligible to wear one, these steps will ensure a healthy transition to wearing a prosthesis. Your prosthesis is a sophisticated tool and an exciting new part of your body. Designed to enhance your independence, activity level, and mobility, it will become a utensil you rely and depend on. So how can you see that your residual limb is fit for its prosthesis? Even after the surgical wound has healed, your residual limb will still be swollen. Swelling, or edema as it is formally called, must be reduced so that your limb will fit into the socket. This process is called „shaping“ the residual limb. Your health care provider will provide a compression stocking or „shrinker“ to help reduce swelling and shape your residual limb for its prosthesis.

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The compression stocking is a tapered sock that applies even pressure to the bottom of the residual limb. Pressure helps reduce swelling, that is, if you wear it. Except when bathing, this compression stocking should be pulled on tight and remain on all the time. Your prosthetist will monitor the changing size of your limb and will ensure your prosthetic will fit perfectly! With amparo's Confidence Socket 

Your Prosthesis

Your prosthesis is an incredible tool that will restore a large part of your mobility and help you master everyday tasks without the help of others. Wearing your prosthesis also avoids possible overloading with your sound leg. If used and maintained properly, it can improve your life drastically.  

Donning

Your prosthetic socket is the interface between your body and the device and thus, is customized specifically to you and your individual needs. Putting on your prosthesis is called “donning.” Your prosthetist will show you the best technique for donning your specific prosthesis and will also recommend helpful donning items such as pull socks, powder and other types of liners. All of this depends on the system that you and your prosthetist decide on. For example, our Confidence Socket has a vacuum suspension system that requires a liner and a sleeve.

With your prosthesis, increasing your activity level day by day is the primary goal. You will be provided with a schedule that gradually increases the amount of time you wear your prosthesis. All of this is depended on individual needs, activity level, environment, as well as private and public life. Typically you start out wearing your prosthesis a couple of hours a day and work your way up to wearing it a full day. To avoid problems such as skin irritation, please follow the schedule your prosthetist gives you. This is a huge milestone and one in which you should be very proud of but also take seriously. On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t wear the prosthesis enough, it can slow down your process in becoming a full time prosthetic user.

Keep in Mind:

  • Never hesitate to ask questions. Posting a list somewhere accessible in your home where you can easily jot down questions you have for your next appointment is a good way to keep track of every and all concerns that cross your mind.
  • Be sure to wear your compression sock when you are not wearing your prosthesis and to work at being active and building up your stamina with and without your prostheses.
  • For the first several weeks, especially if you are a new amputee, use an assistive device such as a walker or a crutch to help alleviate some weight you place on your residual limb.
  • It is not unusual for the size of your residual limb to fluctuate, especially in the early stages. If the size of your limb changes, it is often necessary to add or subtract the number of prosthetic socks when equipped with a traditional socket. With amparo's Confidence Socket, it is designed specifically for new amputees who deal a lot with fluctuating limb size. Your prosthetist can make local adjustments to the socket or reshape the entire socket in an hour. Contact your prosthetist to go over all prosthetic options available to you.  
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