With almost two million people all across the country living with limb loss and over 500 amputations taking place every single day, there are a lot of people to celebrate this April.
Whether you or someone close to you has lost a limb, everyone affected has a story.
In April, we are all given a chance to not only celebrate the obstacles we have overcome, but also to showcase how far we have come in the development of new prosthetic technology. And, we have certainly come a long way.
From ancient Egyptians adding limb supplements to their dead for mummification, to today’s miraculous 3D printing tech, carbon fiber prosthetics, and full understanding of biometrics, we have learned a lot and improved a lot of lives in the process.
April is our month to celebrate that;. and when it comes to celebrating prosthetic advancement, Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics is committed to being a leader and educator.
At Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics, we share the same vision as the Amputee Coalition—to reach out and empower those affected by limb loss, and truly do everything in our power to help them reach their full potential.
We do this through advocacy and support, as well as education on topics such as care, upkeep, and prevention.
This April, we would like to share some information about not only skin care, but basic care, as well. Our hope is to both help those with prosthetics, and to spread awareness of some basic, but very important information.
To help keep the skin that comes in direct contact with the prosthetic healthy, there are some important tips every prosthetic owner should know:
Try to stop shaving before you get to the residual limb near the amputation site. If you shave near here, it may cause ingrown hairs, which can lead to an infection. If you notice an ingrown hair forming, notify your doctor so they can help remove and treat it.
Be sure to wear doctor-approved sunscreen on the portion of your skin that is covered by the prosthetic. It is particularly sensitive to the sun, since it is not often exposed.
Also, try to avoid using any type of cream, lotion, or powder, as it may irritate your skin. If you would like to use it, speak to your doctor about the specific product you want to use.
Be careful of hot and cold water, as well. Since your limb will have limited sensation, you might not be able to tell what the temperature is. Make sure to keep an eye on your limb and take notice if the skin begins to turn colors due to the water temperature. Before you get in, test the water out with another part of your body.
Whether it is your first time wearing a prosthetic, or if your loved one has just been affected by the loss of a limb, we want to help educate you as much as possible.
For the general basics of a prosthetic, here are a few tips to help guide you or your loved one through this time and new processes:
Having different interfaces available can be a huge life-saver when it comes to choosing which one is right for any given situation.
You should, if you have the opportunity or material available, reserve only certain liners or socks for certain weather or activity level. These socks and liners will often have different thicknesses to adhere to various changes in body temperature and movement.
Hand wash your interfaces with soap and water (not too much soap, though), and make sure they are clean when you put them on.
After working out, take off the gel liner and wipe down any grime on the outside of it. Make sure you are washing the gel part with soap and water, as well. It helps to rinse it out well, and dry with a clean cloth or towel.
If you perform regular physical activities or engage in sports, run through a thorough inspection of your interface before playing. Be sure to check for noises, cracks, and the tightness of bolts. This can help prevent injuries and breakage. The recommended amount of cleaning is once per week, but if you are more active than the average wearer, you should clean your prosthetic more often, as well. You may also need to clean your interface with an alcohol-based cleaner to completely eliminate bacteria buildup.
April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and we at Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics want to spread the word. But, we need your help to do so. To get involved, there are a few dates you should mark on your calendar:
Turn Facebook Orange to kick off Limb Loss Awareness Month. Change your Facebook photos and wear orange.
April 3rd and Every Wednesday
Wear orange in support of the month and to spread awareness. You can wear a simple small orange ribbon on your shirt, or wear bright orange pants. Your attire is completely up to you.
These two days are called “Hill Days,” and are centered on educating your legislature about limb loss. You can join the group in D.C., or speak out in your own community.
This day is called “Super Group Appreciation Day.” You can share a post about who supports you, and connect with others who are going through similar situations.
“Certified Peer Visitor Day” is about either visiting someone you know who has been affected, or talking about a memorable visit or powerful connection you have made.
This day is “Show Your Mettle Day,” which means it is time to share your favorite picture of your mettle, metal, and maybe even some medals!
The Power of Your Story
Whether it is yours or someone else’s, there is power in the story of the individual. We want you to celebrate your testimonies to the resiliency and the diversity of the community. Celebrate Limb Loss Awareness this April with us! And, if you or someone you know has been affected by limb loss, do not hesitate to consult your friends at Horton’s. Set up an appointment online, or call 501-214-4191 today.