You’ve poured over pamphlets and taken notes on every instruction from your physical therapist. After all, when you’re new to prosthetics, you want to arm yourself with as much information as you can. There are some smaller details, however, that you’ll simply pick up on your own as you go. Consider a couple little-known facts about wearing your prosthesis that you’ll learn firsthand:
1. It’s best to stop shaving: Compression socks fit over your residual limb as a protective barrier between your skin and the prosthetic socket. Stubble from shaving paired with the tight fit of the sock can create ingrown hairs, which may lead to infection and irritation.
2. You can still wear heels: Some prosthetic legs are built with ankle joints that can flex to different heights at the push of a button. To wear heels, all you need to do is adjust the joint to the appropriate height and voila!
3. No two liners are used the same: That liner between your skin and your device comes in different sizes and materials depending on your function. A silicone liner, for example, is a durable option for minimal activity, whereas one made of polyurethane is great for sensitive or scarred tissue and high activity levels.
4. It’s a full-body adjustment: Learning to walk or training a new dominant hand doesn’t just affect that limb in question. Your body works together as a whole rather than as individual parts, so be prepared to train seemingly unrelated muscles to help support a targeted area.
5. Prepare to replace: Your first prosthetic will hardly be your last. An average prosthetic lasts 3-5 years depending on wear, functional purpose, and change of height or weight. Working with your insurance, you’ll be able to update your gear as your body adapts and needs change.
6. You may have multiple pairs at once: Some designs feature toes to accommodate flip-flops. Swivel joints on some knees help you kneel and flex, and running blades help you sprint as you did before. Depending on your activity, you may use a handful of different prosthetic legs throughout the day.
7. Parts pile up: As they break down or you usher in new styles, your old prosthetics will collect in your closet. After disinfection, they can be donated to charities that distribute and refit your recycled prosthetics in countries where they’re not easily available.
Our experts at Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions want to help you make a smooth transition into prosthetic use by walking you through what to expect, big details and small. If you have questions, we’d love to answer them at https://www.bulowops.com.