After a lower limp amputation, a prosthesis can help you live life to the fullest if you stay active and utilize the help of your prosthetist.
Lower limb prosthetics for amputees open up a new world to those that wear them. A high-quality prosthesis can provide functionality, maneuverability, and, most of all, hope. The post-amputation process comes with a lot of emotional and physical stress, and a prosthesis can go a long way to help alleviate these pressures. The key to transitioning successfully into the next stage of your life starts with knowing how to work with the medical professionals that now make up your support and recovery team. Utilize them as you learn how to use your prosthesis and find ways to stay healthy and happy.
Learning to Use Your Lower Limb Prosthesis
Though a lower limb prosthesis is never a total replacement for a missing limb, technology has made these devices incredibly advanced. Today’s amputees are often able to return to many of the tasks and activities they enjoyed they were able to do pre-amputation.
It’s important to attend all of your doctor, therapist, and prosthetist follow-up appointments, especially at the beginning of your recovery process. See your prosthetist every three months and your primary care physician at least every six months. They will help you establish attainable goals and learn how to handle emergencies, tackle ordinary tasks in new ways, adjust your socks and liners, remove and reattach the prosthesis, maintain proper hygiene, walk on different types of surfaces, and more.
In the early months after an amputation, your residual limb will likely shrink and your prosthesis will need adjusting. Do not tinker with it beyond what you are told as this may result in severe long-term tissue and skin damage. Visit your prosthetist so they can make adjustments to any pressure areas and the device’s alignment even if you think nothing is wrong.
Keeping Fit and Healthy
From the first day you receive your lower limb prosthesis, you have to stay active and communicate with your prosthetist in order to maintain your strength and improve prosthetic outcomes. If you have diabetes or are on dialysis, you need to take special precautions to monitor your health for the rest of your life.
The most important aspect of your fitness regimen following an amputation is building muscle strength and supporting your cardiovascular system. Swimming is an ideal exercise for this reason, as it builds endurance without adding too much pressure to your joints. Depending on whether your amputation was over or below the knee, jogging or sprinting may not be a good idea. Traditional weight lifting can be risky, so talk to your doctor about other strength-training activities.
A healthy diet is just as important as exercise, so consume calcium-rich foods to buildup bone tissue and strengthen bone density. Spinach, milk, fish, and green vegetables are particularly helpful for amputees.
Handling Phantom Limb Pain
The majority of amputees experience a phenomenon called phantom limb pain well after their surgery. Though your leg may be gone, your residual limb will often feel as if the leg is still there and cause you pain. Previous medical conditions, damaged nerves, and decreased blood supply during your amputation surgery may cause this.
With the proper bandaging and regular use, your lower limb prosthesis may help alleviate this pain. Many modern prosthetic devices are also designed specifically with phantom limb pain in mind, so consult your prosthetist if this is a concern.
By following your rehabilitation plan, having a positive outlook, and maintaining regular contact with your support team, you are certain to have a successful recovery and life going forward. Contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics if you need a lower limb prosthesis at 501-683-8889 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to provide you with the support you need every step of the way.
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