Did you know that below the knee amputations represent 71% of all dysvascular amputations? As you probably already recognize, a prosthetic can changes a person’s life. While prosthetics can increase a person’s mobility, it can also take a lot of work to get to this point. Movement on a below the knee prosthetic has been improved through advances in technology over the last couple decades, but 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 will take some time. While there will be some extra work, it is very possible to attain these natural movements with a little care, attention and the right tools and tricks.
Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of your below the knee prosthetic:
- Ensure a Proper Fit
- Take it Slow
- Work on Shifting Your Weight
- Remember, Practice Builds Confidence
- Move Your Body
- Take Care of Your Prosthetic Limb
Ensure a Proper Fit
When you work with a professional in the prosthetics industry, they will be sure to help you get a proper fit for your device. As this is the first step in working toward regaining natural and reliable movements, your device should be secure on the leg without sliding around.
Any movement between your leg and the device could result in rubbing, which could irritate your skin. Without a properly secure prosthetic, you can become uncomfortable and may even experience more serious skin issues. A proper fit will mean your device can work in a more stable way, making it easier for you to find a balance as you learn to use it.
Visit Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions to learn more about artificial legs in Nashville, TN today!
Take it Slow
One of the best ways to get the most out of your below the knee prosthetic limb is to take your time when learning to walk. Don’t immediately run for the stairs and try to use parallel bars for support as you take your first steps. This can offer security and will give you the confidence you need to focus on the mechanics of walking without worrying about falling. Your prosthetic limb is going to be a process. Results will come quick enough, so don’t rush yourself.
Work on Shifting Your Weight
For many able-bodied individuals, there is an unconscious switch of our weight between our legs as we take steps. Because this has become an unconscious movement, it will take practice to master this manually on your new below the knee prosthetic.
Improving your gait to where it feels and looks natural will come with time, but you must first focus on fluidly moving your weight between your legs as you walk along the parallel bars. This is the foundation of walking comfortably, so take your time to get it right.
Remember, Practice Builds Confidence
Once you find yourself comfortable with the basic mechanics of walking, practice it over and over. This provides benefits even after you begin to feel comfortable. One major cognitive achievement during this prosthetic limb learning curve, will be confidence. Once you achieve confidence on your new limb, you’ll feel more comfortable as you navigate the world with your prosthetic. Set daily goals for yourself where you practice mindful walking. Pay attention to how and when you shift your weight. Study your gait and find ways to make it look and feel more natural.
Move Your Body
Finding true stability on your below the knee prosthetic limb is the ultimate goal. You can achieve this by utilizing pointed exercises toward strengthening your legs and core.
While balancing on one leg, bouncing a ball while walking, or balancing a stick in your hand 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.