Did you know that approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year? IF you’re someone who has undergone an amputation and are looking for the right prosthetic solutions, then you’ve come to the right place. A prosthetic leg can change your life for the better. While prosthetics can increase mobility, it can also take a lot of work to get to this point.
With the need to improve upon the internal systems of balance and control, getting the most out of your prosthetic leg will take some time. While there will be some extra work, it is very possible to attain natural movements with a little help and make your prosthetic leg work for your lifestyle. Choosing the right prosthetic leg will be integral to your mobility and livelihood.
Here’s how you can choose the best prosthetic option for you:
- Prosthetic Options
- Make Sure It Fits
- Work on Shifting Your Weight
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Take Care of Your Prosthetic
There are many variables and options for lower limb prostheses. With 350 different foot/ankle systems and 200 different knee systems, you’ll want to know which will be best for you. Your prosthetist can work with you and your unique needs to evaluate different joint and foot components to determine which provide optimal balance, safety, function, and gait efficiency.
Most lower limb prosthetics are endoskeletal, meaning they are adjustable. These systems include 3 general types of lower limb prostheses: Prosthetic ankle and foot systems, Prosthetic knee systems, Sport-specific prosthetic foot and knee systems.
Often, ankle and foot prosthetic systems are equipped with hydraulic dampening systems. These systems can affect any changes in walking speed, regulate function in real time based on user input or environmental conditions, as well as provide active propulsion — greatly reducing energy required for walking.
With this in mind, the effectiveness for various activities will differ from system to system. Keep in mind that generally, running is more challenging for above-knee amputees than for below-knee amputees. Be sure to work with your doctor to ensure you find the right balanced solutions for your unique prosthetic needs.
Make Sure It Fits
Once you’ve found the right type of prosthetic for you, you’ll be able to make sure it fits properly. When you work with a professional in the prosthetics industry, they will be sure to help you get a proper fit for your device. It is important that your device is secure on the leg and does not slide around in this first step toward regaining natural and reliable movements.
You could experience irritation if your leg rubs against the device. You may experience discomfort and even more serious skin conditions without a properly installed prosthetic. With this in mind, a properly fit device will operate more smoothly, allowing you to find a balance much more easily.
Visit Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions to learn more about prosthetic limbs in Nashville, TN today!
Work on Shifting Your Weight
In order to take steps comfortably, most people alternate their weight between their legs. As this movement has become unconscious, you will need to practice on your prosthetic leg to master it manually. With time, you’ll be able to walk naturally, but you’ll have to master the skill of shifting your weight fluidly between your legs as you walk on parallel bars. In order to ensure you feel comfortable walking on your new limb, taking these exercises slowly will be integral. A prosthetics professional will ensure you do the necessary work to get back on your feet.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you practice the basic mechanics of walking on your device, the more comfortable you will become. As soon as you are comfortable with this, your life will continue to reap the rewards. Gaining confidence will be a major accomplishment during this prosthetic leg learning curve.
By learning to navigate the world with your prosthetic limb, patients often report feeling less insecure. Be sure to practice mindful walking every day by setting daily goals for yourself. When shifting your weight, pay attention to how you do it. Practice makes perfect and working slowly on your recovery can help ensure your walking, gait and comfortability are all tended too and look/feel natural.
Take Care of Your Prosthetic
When it comes to making the most of your new limb, your prosthetic itself needs daily care in order to provide its full potential for benefits. Keep it clean by washing the liner as sweat can build up over the day which can grow bacteria and create an unpleasant odor. You should also be sure to take care of the skin around your prosthetic. Wash this area of our body more frequently and pay attention to any sore or red spots. Daily maintenance will save the pain and hassle of larger problems down the road.