New Amputee Archives - Prosthetic Orthotic Solutions International

How long can I wear it?

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A prosthesis could be worn throughout the course of the day. A new prosthetic wearer or a new prosthesis, would require a wearing schedule to acquaint the residual limb to the prosthesis. Proper volume management of the residual limb throughout the wearing time, would also determine the length of time the amputee could wear the prosthesis.

Is the prosthesis comfortable?

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A socket that is fit properly, will be more comfortable to wear for prolonged duration. A proper fitting socket melds together, proper weight bearing areas, relief of bony prominences, and have total contact on the residual limb.


How does the prosthesis stay on?

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There are different methods of suspension of the prosthesis.

They are: anatomical, suction, elevated vacuum, shuttle-lock (pin type) systems and lanyard systems.

  • Anatomical suspension utilizes the contour of the bony prominences of the residual limb to hold onto.
  • Suction system area used with either a cushion liner, with or without sealing bands, or direct skin contact of the residual lib. The socket has a a one way valve to expel the air out of the socket, which creates negative pressure in the socket to attain suspension.
  • The elevated vacuum system utilizes an external pump to draw the air out of the socket and obtain negative pressure inside of the socket to achieve suspension.
  • The shuttle lock system consist of a pin that is threaded to the distal end (bottom) of the liner, which then engages to the locking mechanism attached to the distal end of the socket to achieve suspension.
  • The lanyard system often used with transfemoral (above knee) prosthesis. It consists of wearing a liner, attached at the distal end of the liner is a Velcro strap or braided string. Then is is fed through the locking mechanism and pulled out of the bottom of the socket to obtain suspension.

What is the fitting process?

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The process of fitting a new prosthesis involves a number of steps. Shortly post- amputation as your limb is healing, a cloth shrinker will be provided and applied to your limb to help control swelling. An evaluation is performed where the practitioner learns about your abilities, goals, and activities. This information is used to determine an appropriate design of the prosthesis. Upon receiving clearance from your surgeon for a prosthesis, your limb will be cast with a plaster wrap to capture the shape. Before delivery of the final prosthesis there will be a number of fittings in a diagnostic test socket (DTS). A DTS is a transparent plastic utilized to confirm a proper fitting socket by your prosthetist. You will walk in the DTS aligned on your definitive componetry (knee/ foot). In this stage the fit of the socket and the alignment will be fine tuned and then transferred to make the definitive prosthesis. Upon receipt of the prosthesis you will work with a PT to learn to walk using the prosthesis.

How long is the process?

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Unique to the individual and cause of amputation. Your surgeon will provide clearance for a prosthesis when the limb is healed from surgery. About 2 to 4 weeks after clearance you will be able to take your first steps with the prosthesis. (See fitting process)

What is Phantom Pain? How is it different form Phantom Sensation?

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Phantom sensation ( or limb) is the feeling that an amputated limb is still attached and is moving appropriately with other body parts. Phantom sensations ( or Limb) usually will disappear or decrease over time.

Phantom pain is pain that feels like it is coming for a body part that is no longer there. This is a real sensation that originates in the spinal cord and brain. For many people, phantom pain dissipates over time with prosthetic utilization, but for others managing phantom pain can be challenging. You and your doctor can work together to treat phantom pain with medication or with other therapies.


How do I choose the right Physical Therapist?

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The right physical therapist will have extensive experience serving other amputees and is willing to work with you to achieve your short term and long term goals. The ideal therapist is one who has specific amputee gait training and has knowledge of how your prosthetic componentry works. The therapist is a part of your rehabilitative team and should feel comfortable working with your prosthetist to achieve the best outcomes for you. The relationship between the therapist and your prosthetist will have a significant impact on your outcome.

Why Should I Use a Prosthesis?

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A well fit lower extremity prosthesis should be used daily for up to 16 hours and for a lifetime. It benefits those who have multiple co-morbidities. Often there is improvement in mobility compared to pre-amputation for those who were managed for limb salvage.