With 2.1 million people in the United States living with limb loss, incorporating a prosthetic leg into your new routine could become beneficial. A prosthetic leg can change a person’s life for the better. While prosthetics can increase a person’s mobility, it can also take a lot of work to get to this point. While movement on a leg prosthetic has been improved through advances in technology over the last couple decades, the muscles that control the new limb and the mechanics of walking haven’t been used in this way before.
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.
Here are some ways to ensure your prosthetic leg works best for you:
- Above vs Below the Knee Prosthetics
- Make Sure It Fits
- Be Patient
- Shift Your Weight
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Stay Active
- Take Care of Your Prosthetic
Above vs Below the Knee Prosthetics
As a first point, the process will be different depending on what kind of prosthetic limb is used. The main difference between leg prosthetics will come in two forms: Above-the-knee prosthetics and below-the-knee prosthetics.
Above-the-knee prosthetics are likely to be more complicated since they have to account for an absence of the knee joint. Balancing will be more difficult as a result. This type of prosthetic device could pose a fall risk for prosthetic wearers since it makes them feel less stable. In addition to providing additional stability, below-the-knee prosthetics will be able to work in conjunction with the wearer’s knee socket.
Make Sure It Fits
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. As a result of a proper fit, your device will operate more smoothly, allowing you to find a balance much more easily.
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Taking your time while learning to walk is one of the best ways to get the most out of your prosthetic leg. While taking your first steps, do not immediately run for the stairs or use parallel bars to support yourself. In addition to providing security, this can give you the confidence you need to focus on walking mechanics without the fear of falling. It will take time for you to get your prosthetic limb. You will see results quickly enough, so don’t keep pushing yourself and be patient.
Shift Your Weight
As we take steps, many of us switch our weight between our legs by habit. In order to master this movement manually on your new prosthetic leg, you will have to practice since it has become unconscious.
The gait you walk will become more natural with time, but at first you must learn how to move your weight fluidly between your legs on the parallel bars. Getting this part right is crucial for walking comfortably.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing the basic mechanics of walking over and over again will help you get more comfortable. Even after you begin to feel comfortable with this, you continue to benefit. A major accomplishment during this prosthetic leg learning curve will be gaining confidence.
By gaining confidence with your prosthetic limb, you’ll feel less insecure as you navigate the world around you. Practice mindful walking every day by setting daily goals for yourself. When shifting your weight, pay attention to how you do it. Make the gait easier to follow by studying it and finding ways to make it feel and look more natural.
A new prosthetic leg’s ultimate goal is to find true stability. In order to accomplish this, you can use targeted exercises to strengthen your legs and core.
Walking with a ball in your hand, balancing on one leg, and bouncing a ball while you walk are basic exercises, but these movements require a certain level of balance and stability that will be useful to those with prosthetic legs. Eventually, this can lead to walking on varied terrain, carrying everyday items, such as groceries, and standing up from a seated or lying position.
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.