Did you know that 75% of amputations are caused by either cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes? Despite prosthetics’ ability to increase mobility for those with disabilities, getting to this point can also take a lot of effort.
Technological advances have improved the movement of below-the-knee prosthetics over the last couple of decades, but they haven’t improved the muscles that control the new limb or the mechanics of walking. In order to get the most out of your prosthetic, you’ll need to work on your internal balance and control systems.
Although it may require a little extra effort, achieving these movements is very possible when you have the right tools and the right medical attention. Bulow Orthotics can help you get back on your feet with the right below-the-knee prosthetics.
Here are some of the best ways to use your below the knee prosthetic:
- Fitting Your Device
- Practice Takes Time
- Weight Balance
- Practice Moving Your Body
- Take Care of Your Prosthetic Limb
Fitting Your Device
When you work with a professional in the prosthetics industry, they will be sure to help you get a proper fit for your device. You should ensure that your device is secure on the leg so it does not slide around. This is the first step to regaining natural and reliable movement. Moving your leg or the device might cause your skin to rub, causing irritation.
If your prosthetic is not properly secured, you may experience uncomfortable skin conditions. When your device is properly fitted, it can function more reliably, making it easier for you to adjust to its use as you become more comfortable with it. Be sure to work with your doctor to ensure your below-the-knee prosthetic works for you.
Practice Takes Time
Learning how to walk on a below-the-knee prosthetic can be a challenging task if you don’t take your time. As you take your first steps, don’t immediately run for the stairs, maybe try to grab the parallel bars for support at first. This can offer security and will give you the confidence you need to focus on the mechanics of walking without worrying about falling.
Learning to use your below-the-knee prosthetic limb is going to be a long process. However, don’t fret as results will come quick enough. Rushing your progress can hurt your overall goal, so be sure to take your time learning how to move on your new limb.
As we walk, we often switch our weight between our legs subconsciously. Due to the fact that this movement has become automatic, it will take practice on your new below-the-knee prosthetic to master it manually. Over time, you will be able to improve your gait so that it feels natural, but the first step is to learn how to shift your weight fluidly between your legs as you walk along the parallel bars. Take your time to get this right, as it is the foundation of walking comfortably.
Practice Moving Your Body
Make sure you practice walking over and over again once you become familiar with the basic mechanics. You can benefit from this practice even after you’re comfortable. Throughout the prosthetic limb learning period, confidence is one of the key cognitive achievements. You’ll feel more comfortable navigating the world with your prosthetic once you gain confidence on your new limb.
Practicing mindful walking daily should be one of your daily goals. Observe your weight shifting. Examine your gait and find ways to make it look and feel more natural. Stabilizing your prosthetic limb below the knee should be your ultimate goal. You can strengthen your legs and core by performing exercises targeted at those specific areas.
Try balancing on one leg, bouncing a ball while walking, or balancing a stick in your hand. While these might seem like basic exercises, these movements can take a level of balance and stability that will help those with a prosthetic limb. This can progress into walking on various terrains, carrying everyday items such as groceries, and standing up from a lying position.
Take Care of Your Prosthetic Limb
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.