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Why Is 3D Scanning Important for a Proper Prosthesis Fit?

Prosthetic limbs can play an important role in the rehabilitation process for people who have lost an arm, leg, or other extremities as a result of amputation. They not only help improve mobility, but they also empower amputees to stay independent and navigate their day-to-day lives easier. 

As such, prostheses are generally custom fit to the exact shape and size of a patient’s limb to ensure maximum comfort and functionality. Fortunately, advancements in medical technology, like 3D scanning, have made the prostheses fitting process easier and more accurate.

With 3D scanning, we have the potential to create three-dimensional visualization of any product without even a millimeter out of shape. This means that patients can now have their prostheses customized using high-resolution images that provide more detailed information than ever before. This not only helps make sure that the limb fits properly—which makes it easier to use and improves comfort—but also allows for adjustments to be made as often as necessary throughout the life of a prosthetic limb.

Keep reading to learn more about 3D scanning and how it can help with the prosthesis fitting process.

What Is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning, also known as photogrammetry, is now becoming increasingly popular in the medical field for its use in prosthesis fitting. Instead of having a technician custom-tailor a prosthetic over a week, 3D scanning can get all the complex work done in just 15 minutes, and the resulting scan can be 3D printed in almost no time. Moreover, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs are more affordable and can even be customized to the most minute details, including the patient’s skin tone. 

How Can 3D Scanning Help with Prosthesis Fitting?

Before the early 1990s, plaster of Paris was used to capture the exact shape and size of the limb to create a prosthesis. This process is often referred to as shape capture. The plaster of Paris was poured into a mold, then modified with various sculpting tools to achieve the final shape before wet lamination or thermoforming. Later, as technology evolved, digital fabrication transformed how prosthesis fitting was done, and now shape capture happens with the help of computers.

CNC carving of foam, plaster molds, or 3D printing are all examples of digital fabrication. 3D scanning is now becoming one of the most preferred ways of getting fitted for a new prosthesis. This is because it is a more accurate way of measuring and creating a custom socket for your prosthetic limb, ensuring better fit and comfort. 

The quality of the measurements from 3D scanning provides more information about where the parts should be placed in relation to each other, helping them form a tight fit around your limb. This will help you minimize the pain and discomfort that would otherwise be caused by poorly fitting prosthetic components or uneven pressure points on the body.

3D scanners can also be used to make temporary or permanent prostheses that have been fitted using 3D scan data as opposed to traditional methods like physical measurement or handcrafting. This also allows for greater customization since prostheses can be made in all sizes without having to compromise on style or comfort. 

Additionally, since 3D scanners can capture details, such as pores on the skin, and at high resolutions, they can help create more realistic models than those created with photographs alone. These devices have no limitations when it comes to materials and can work with virtually any material. 

The 3D Scanning Process for Upper Extremities

3D scanning is a process that uses a specialized device to take digital images of an object, person, or space. The scanner captures data points on the surface of the object and then uses a computer program to combine these data points into a 3-dimensional image. When this principle is applied to prosthesis fitting and design, the results we get are more accurate and ensure better fit and comfort for the patient. 

When it comes to prosthesis fitting for upper limbs, the process begins with identifying the patient’s needs through an initial interview about their lifestyle, hobbies, and activities, as well as any challenges they face with their current prosthesis fit. 

After this assessment, there will be follow-up appointments to take measurements. 

Step 1: The technician will pay attention to the shape of the residual limb before scanning. 

Step 2: They will make sure that the fingers are spread evenly, and the wrist is properly positioned. If the fingers are placed too wide, or the wrist is titled at an unnatural angle, it can negatively affect the 3D scanning image quality.

Step 3: If it is a partial hand, wrist, or above wrist amputation or wrist disarticulation, they will use a blue tack to mark the side with the palm before the scan.

Step 4: Then, they will take a photo of the residual limb with blue tack and send it together with the STL file.

Step 5: The prosthetic experts at Fit Prosthetics will get a clear visualization of the blue tack mark on the cast to represent the palm. Also, it’s best to scan the forearm at least 70 mm from the wrist position. This will give us more data for the trail fabrication.

Step 6: If the residual limb has no obvious wrist position, the technician will use a blue tack to mark three dots on the wrist area to represent the palm and wrist position.

Step 7: If the residual limb has sensitive spots, place blue tack on the center of the sensitive spot and mark the size of the sensitive site on the photo when we print out the 3D cast. We can compare the cast against the picture; then, we can locate the accurate position and estimate the actual size of the sensitive spot.

The 3D Scanning Process for Lower Extremities

The 3D scanning process for the lower extremities is similar to the one for the upper extremities. The process begins with the patient having their foot or ankle flexed, which helps create a more accurate representation of the limb as it would be in everyday use. Once this step has been completed, a scanner will be placed over the patient’s limb and rotated around it at different angles. This allows for both topographical data and surface measurements to be collected without any additional invasive techniques being used on the patient’s body.

Once all of this information has been collected by your 3D scanner, you’ll need to process it so that you can create a prosthesis model based on these measurements.

The Benefits of Using 3D Scanning for Prosthesis Fitting

Helps Create a Pressure Map

3D scanning can create artificial limbs more efficiently. When you stand upright, there are certain pressure points in your feet. Insoles are shaped based on these points. 3D scanning makes it easy to extract the patient’s pressure map.

More Accurate

With 3D scanning, casting accuracy is enhanced. This technology doesn’t miss out even on a millimeter. As a result of 3D scanning’s accuracy, medical professionals can eliminate errors while taking measurements and creating pressure maps. They can also speed up the prosthesis designing process without compromising on quality

Improved Comfort

A 3D-printed prosthetic limb will be more stable and durable, which means you can wear it longer without pain or discomfort. It will also be easier on your skin since the prosthetic device won’t run or rub against your skin as much. The result is that you’ll feel better in general while wearing your artificial limb if it’s fitted properly and doesn’t interfere with your daily activities.

Cost-Effective

Digitizing the fitting process can also save time and reduce overall costs. For example, when using a physical mold, you must also take into consideration the time and money involved in shipping the mold to labs and manufacturing facilities. On the other hand, 3D scanning allows medical professionals to treat many patients at once with greater precision, speeding up the process and helping you save money and time by minimizing the need for corrections. 

3D scanning is a new and exciting technology that is helping to transform the field of prosthesis fitting. With this technique, patients can get a more accurate fit in less time with fewer visits than traditional methods. Contact the Fit Prosthetics team in Salt Lake City, Utah, to learn more about 3D scanning and prosthesis fitting. 

What Are 3D Printed Prosthetics?

One of the numerous ways that technology has helped the field of medicine is through 3D-printed prosthetics. People with physical disabilities, kids, the entertainment industry, and many other areas have benefited from 3D printing in prosthetics. Printing human organs and drugs are just two examples of the innovations in the realm of medicine that have been made possible by 3D printing, but prosthetic limbs have possibly been the most commercially successful so far.

What Are 3D Printed Prosthetics?

A prosthesis is an artificial device that substitutes a missing body part. This missing body part may have been lost due to an accident, illness, or congenital disability. Prosthetics are a perfect application for 3D printing since they are frequently constructed of plastic and need to be customized for each patient. Although 2D graphics are helpful, they don’t reflect a real human part and offer little imagery. On the other hand, 3D printing produces replicas that resemble and appear like real human body parts.

They are highly tailored and made via medical 3D printing. Affordable 3D printed prosthetics are now feasible thanks to 3D printing, which represents a tiny revolution in the medical field.

Changing Lives

In addition to being cost-effective for even developing nations, 3D printers enable anyone to create and print unique parts with the use of some simple equipment. This facilitates the creation of prosthetics that are individually fitted. Today, artificial limbs made using 3D printing can be tailored to any degree of amputation or be task-specific, allowing for various prosthetics for work, sports, and other activities. High resistance, durability, and quick development and manufacturing are additional benefits. Prosthetic devices are intended to emulate the functions of a missing human limb as closely as feasible, changing millions of lives. Prosthetic devices have affected millions of people’s lives and aim to precisely replicate the functions of a missing human limb.

3D Printed Prosthetics—The Modern Day Solution

A 3D scanner can complete all complex work in just 15 minutes, and the resulting scan may be sent across the world to be 3D printed or analyzed in seconds rather than taking a technician a week to custom-tailor a prosthetic. Additionally, 3D-printed prosthetics are now easily affordable and come in a variety of hues, including those that may be customized to the patient’s skin tone.

Once the prosthetic’s 3D design has been customized, the STL files can be kept indefinitely. This implies that you can go back to the file and scale it up for them if you fit a five-year-old with a 3D printed arm prosthetic and he outgrows it. In a real sense, 3D printed prosthetics develop with you. This makes children’s 3D-printed prosthetics the ideal solution.

Benefits of 3D Printed Prosthetics

1)   Innovation

 Be creative without being constrained by current manufacturing methods. Rapid prototyping has never been so simple, thanks to 3D printers. Use this technology to iterate your ideas and projects more quickly. Great future improvements will be made possible by going beyond conventional prosthesis manufacture.

2)   Personalization

The most crucial argument, in this case, is the one about customization. By receiving adaptive equipment and prosthetics, the patients will benefit and have a better quality of life in the event of limb loss. Thanks to 3D printers, it is now possible to create customizable functional prostheses.

3)   Affordability

The majority of kids consider it normal to hold a pen or swing a tennis bat. That simple action could seem like a giant leap for kids with congenital impairments who are missing a hand or several fingers. Many families are left without options since traditional prosthetic limbs are pricey and quickly outgrow their bodies.

It is undeniable that, thanks to the advancement of 3D printing in prosthetics, even the most ordinary person can now undergo a prosthetic operation. Those who needed the services would be concerned about the cost because the old form of prosthesis surgery was pricey. With the advent of 3D printing, a less expensive option exists. The CAD designs are relatively simple to change, and 3D printing is a very affordable production method.

Any traditional prosthetic has a lifespan of roughly five years. Children require prosthetics considerably more frequently due to their rapid growth. This will be extremely expensive for the families and will significantly strain them. Children’s prosthetic devices may now be produced more easily and more affordably thanks to 3D printing. Thus, getting prosthetics for your children is no longer a complex chore.

4)   Comfort

Another crucial element that must be taken into account in this situation is comfort. The wearers of standard prosthetics do not find them to be the most comfortable. A majority of amputees have expressed discomfort when using conventional prosthetic limbs. On the other hand, 3D printing assists in delivering the ideal solution by utilizing CAD services as well as the wearer’s anatomical data. The designers can develop a socket specifically for the prosthetic that will fit precisely. Using multi-material 3D printing techniques also makes prosthetics more comfortable. This aids in the creation of more organic sockets that better meld with the human body.

5)   Speed

When addressing the use of 3D printing in prosthetics, speed is another crucial element that must be taken into account. Compared to conventional methods, prosthetics can be produced quickly using 3D printing. The production of conventional prosthetics takes weeks or even months. Therefore, those who want prosthetic surgery would have to wait patiently for their number to be called on the waiting list. Thanks to the development of 3D printing, this has changed.

3D Printed Prosthetics: The Future

Given the benefits outlined above, it is impossible to deny that 3D printing has taken a significant role in the prosthetics sector. The best part about this is that technology isn’t static. It is constantly changing as new discoveries are made and the current techniques are enhanced by cutting-edge ones. What can we anticipate in terms of 3D-printed prosthetics in the future?

1)   New Technologies

Bionic propulsion systems, computers that anticipate the user’s actions, and other advances are giving traditional prosthetics a modern look. These innovative technologies will eventually find their way into 3D printed prosthetics, giving patients access to these advancements and allowing them to experience better mobility and more control over their lives.

2)   More Personalized Designs

Prosthetics created via 3D printing are not at all hideous. In fact, many modern items may be found in a variety of tones that appeal to children, and some can even be customized to the wearer’s skin tone, which frequently appeals to adults.

However, it is true that technological advancements will make prosthetics even more aesthetically pleasing. In order to avoid making the users stand out from the crowd and feel self-conscious, they might be manufactured to look exactly like actual limbs. Additionally, they can be embellished with creative patterns, and accident victims can recover by using a prosthesis that contains rich artwork.

Final Words

The quality of life for individuals will continue to improve thanks to 3D printing applications in medicine. It is certain that 3D printers will ultimately play a crucial role in a majority of medical procedures in the future.

Customized prosthesis designs are already being developed for 3D printing. It might become standard in the upcoming years. While pre-made patterns are fantastic, the opportunity to make unique items opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Fit Prosthetics

We are revolutionizing the way prosthetics are made at FitProsthetics near Salt Lake City, Utah! By providing the highest caliber of prosthetic care, we first restore and enhance patients’ mobility while assisting them in achieving their objectives. We are committed to your success, and we will offer you comprehensive, seamless service that helps with every aspect of your recovery.

Contact our office to make an appointment by phone or text, and we’ll schedule a time that works best for you. If you need immediate assistance, please call us at (801) 912-0500.

What To Consider When Choosing A New Prosthesis

A prosthesis can play a significant role in the rehabilitation process for amputees who have lost an arm, a leg, or other extremities to amputation. The prosthetic device or the artificial limb can help improve mobility and endow the individual with the ability to conduct essential daily activities. Most importantly, it equips the individual with the means to stay independent.

What Are Prostheses?

Prostheses replace a missing body part and are a critical component of the rehabilitation process following an amputation. Prostheses help restore mobility, resulting in better amputee outcomes and lesser co-morbidities. After the amputation, amputees with prostheses experience fewer mishaps that require visits to the hospital and, consequently, lower overall medical expenses.

Prosthetics may be body-powered or controlled through microprocessors or other electronic means. Like other areas of medical care, prosthetics have leveraged technology to develop prosthetic devices that very closely mimic the function of the actual body parts that they are intended to replace.

The Many Prostheses Options

While amputees’ options in the range of prosthetic devices have increased, it has also placed an added burden on them to choose the right prosthesis carefully.

Careful deliberation in making a choice is critical since the prosthesis will be used for a long time. The prosthesis chosen needs to be pain-free during use and should enable the individual to achieve the targeted lifestyle.

There are key factors that need to be considered by an amputee when choosing a prosthetic device, and here’s what they are:

The Prostheses’ Parts and Types

There is a wide range of prostheses that are designed to look and function like an actual hand, arm, leg, or foot. Typically, the parts of these prostheses include:

●     The Socket: this is for seating the stump of the amputated limb. By necessity, the socket is an exact mold of the stump for it to fit snugly over the limb. It helps attach the prosthetic leg to the body. The socket is usually lined with foam or silicone to protect the stump. Special socks may also be worn over the stump for enhanced comfort and a better fit

●     The Suspension: this helps hold the prosthesis onto the stump. The holding action could be sleeve suction, vacuum suction, or distal locking through a pin or lanyard

●     The Pylon: this part of the prosthesis mimics the bone that the prosthesis replaces, and ensures strength and stability for the prosthesis

●     The Foot, Hand, or Hook: depending on the type of prosthetic, this is the business end of the prosthetic that will receive the most wear and tear. There are several types of prostheses that range in the functionality of this part and can provide different uses depending on what is required of the limb

●     The Cosmetic Covering: a covering that provides a cosmetic appearance to help the prosthetic blend in/be less noticeable to the naked eye

Additionally, as would be fairly obvious, the factors to be considered while choosing a prosthesis also include the location and level of the amputation, the condition of the remaining stump, and the desired level of physical activity and functionality. Also, the upper and lower prosthetic limbs have different care needs. Lower limbs experience higher stress levels and are difficult to stand on compared to the upper limbs. This is also, therefore, another key factor to consider when choosing a prosthetic.  

What is the Priority – Form or Function?

What individuals desire from their prostheses varies. Some desire to revert to their original level of physical activity, while some may settle for only the basic functionality and replicating the original limb’s natural look. Depending on the level and type of activity aimed for, the choice of prosthetic will also differ. It is also possible to not choose between form and function and instead have multiple prosthetics for different activities.

The Nature of Targeted Activities

The most critical factor in the choice of the prosthetic device is the range of physical activities targeted. The daily activities, both at work and home, that the amputee needs to perform and recreational physical activities such as walking, running, playing, etc. affect the choice of prosthetic.

Prosthetics are classified based on the level of activity the amputee is likely to engage in. The classification called the K-Level ranges from K-0 to K-4. Each level indicates the lifestyle of the amputee.

The Cost

There is a wide variation in the quality of available prosthetics, and hence there is also a wide variation in the cost of the prosthetics. For example, an advanced prosthesis such as an artificial bionic limb designed for a high frequency of usage costs many times more than a mechanical limb. Some insurance providers cover the cost of the prosthetics, and some do not.

The Expected Benefits from a Prosthesis

While most people benefit from the prosthesis, some do not. Factors to be considered and discussed with the doctor by the amputee include:

●     The extent of available soft tissue to cushion the remaining bone

●     The extent of pain being experienced

●     The condition of the skin on the stump

●     The residual range of motion in the amputated limb

●     The health of the other limbs

●     Previous and desired activity levels

●     The amputee’s mobility goals

The reason behind the amputation, the amputee’s physical health, and lifestyle are also important factors. For example, an amputee who had a sedentary lifestyle and underwent amputation due to peripheral vascular disease or diabetes will find it difficult to adapt to life with a prosthesis compared to a person with a previously active lifestyle who lost a limb in an accident. The final choice before moving forward in pursuing a prosthesis is therefore a consultative process between the amputee and a specialist medical professional.

Climatic Conditions

It is essential to also consider the climatic conditions of the place where the prosthesis is intended to be used. The weather impacts both the prosthetic and the stump. The efficacy of the prosthetic is affected by dry weather, humidity, and cold. Dry skin can cause friction and chafe as well. Humid weather causes excessive perspiration and discomfort. Dust in the prosthetic joints results in abrasion and damage, and saltwater leads to corrosion.

Wearing Schedule

Getting used to wearing a prosthetic takes time and effort. After the initial fitting of the prosthetic, many iterations in the fit are made to achieve the exact fit. A prosthetist works with the amputee on the wearing schedule to make the individual comfortable using the prosthesis with a minimum amount of wear-time. The wear time is gradually increased until the amputee becomes comfortable. The wearing schedule is, therefore, a key factor in the choice of the prosthetic.

Changing Needs

As the residual limb stabilizes, it might become necessary to transition to a new prosthesis. Initially, the amputee might need to choose a temporary prosthesis and then switch to one intended for long-term use. New pain, discomfort, lack of stability, etc. may also make it necessary to change the prosthesis. Ordinarily, prostheses need to be changed every three to five years and require the user to take some time to get used to, which is another factor to be considered when choosing the right prosthesis.

The Rehabilitation Process

The process of rehabilitation is inherently collaborative and ongoing. The amputee will need to learn to use the prosthesis and work on strengthening the limbs and the cardiovascular system. It is important to keep healthy limbs in good physical condition.

Getting used to a prosthesis can be tricky. The most common difficulties include:

●     Excessive sweating that degrades the fit of the prosthesis and also causes skin problems

●     Changing the shape of the stump. Typically, this continues for the first year after the amputation before the stump settles into a final shape. This can affect the fit of the socket

●     Weakness of the residual limb may restrict the prosthesis use for long durations

●     Phantom limb pain can also limit the use of the prosthesis

The Reliability of the Manufacturer

Finding a reputable manufacturer/supplier of good-quality prostheses is also important. A good supplier will work with an amputee’s prosthetist to provide the best fit to enable the amputee to achieve the desired lifestyle.

Is a Prosthesis Right for You?

Several factors determine prosthesis choice. This indicates that preferences among amputees vary significantly. User participation in the selection process greatly influences the successful match between the user and the prosthesis, leading to a decrease in abandonment and an increase in cost-effectiveness.

Interested in pursuing a prosthesis? Reach out to us at FIT Prosthetics to learn more about the range of prostheses and more! Our skilled and compassionate staff will be there to help find the perfect prosthetic for your particular needs, so contact us today.

Pediatric Prosthetics 101 – What You Need to Know

If you find out that your child has a limb difference or needs an amputation, it can be a difficult time for the whole family. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child and are probably worried about how this will affect their life.

A prosthesis has the ability to restore your child’s mobility and give them the freedom to live their life to the fullest. But, there is an adjustment period, and your little one will need help and support to get used to their new artificial limb.

Here, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about pediatric prosthetics. Keep reading to learn more about the pediatric prosthesis process, if it is the right choice for your child, and how you can help your child transition to their new prosthetic.

What Are the Types of Pediatric Prosthesis?

Prostheses are custom-made artificial limbs that are designed to accommodate the needs of your child. The main purpose of a prosthesis is to improve the mobility and functionality of an upper or lower extremity. There are two major types of pediatric prostheses: upper extremity prostheses and lower extremity prostheses.

Upper Extremity Prosthesis

Whether your child needs a prosthetic limb because of congenital upper limb deficiencies or upper extremity amputation due to an accident or illness, upper limb prostheses can help them regain several functions of their fingers and hands.

Depending on where they are fitted and how they work, upper extremity prostheses are further classified into:

Transradial Prosthesis

A trans-radial prosthetic encompasses both the forearm and the wrist. It is fitted on the arm below the elbow.

Transhumeral Prosthesis

Transhumeral prosthesis are one of the hardest prosthesis to attach because it sits on the arm above the elbow. It still lacks the full functionality required to mimic someone’s natural movements—though there have been several advancements to improve this aspect.

One of the most common attachment methods for a transhumeral prosthetic is to use a suction system. Another option to affix the prosthetic limb is the roll-on linear system.

Passive Prosthesis

This prosthesis is often prescribed as the first prosthesis for infants. Its main function is to enhance the cosmetic appearance of a limb deficiency. Though passive prostheses can’t aid with active motion, they still improve functionality by creating a surface to stabilize objects.

Body-Powered Prosthesis

Cables and harnesses are used to direct the movement of a body-powered prosthesis. Patients use motion from other parts of their body to mechanically control their new limb.

Myoelectric Prostheses

These battery-powered prostheses get their cues from the electrical signals sent from the patient’s muscle movements.

Lower Extremity Prostheses

Based on your child’s amputation and activity level, there are a wide variety of lower extremity prosthetic components and designs you can choose from.

The first component is the socket, the part of the prosthesis that covers the residual limb. You can find a range of socket designs that can be customized to meet your child’s comfort and functionality needs.

Another aspect you need to pay attention to is suspension. This refers to how the prosthesis stays on your child’s body. From pin locking to lanyard and suction, suspension of lower limb prostheses can vary based on your child’s size, weight, and daily activity level.

If your child requires a prosthetic two, you generally have two options—microprocessor and non-microprocessor. A microprocessor knee joint is computerized, battery-powered, and uses sophisticated technology to enhance your mobility and the way you walk. Non-microprocessor knee joints rely on well-designed mechanical components to ensure safety and stability while walking and standing.

How to Choose the Right Prosthesis for Your Child?

Whether or not your child chooses to wear a prosthetic device will depend on various physical and environmental factors, including age, level of mobility, and how often they will wear it. For example, selecting the right prosthetic foot depends on your child’s age, size, and level of activity.

Most children with lower-limb differences use their prostheses every day. In contrast, children with prosthetic upper limbs may choose not to wear them only when doing a particular activity such as playing a sport or a musical instrument. In this case, the upper limb prosthesis can be customized to suit the activity.

Most pediatricians recommend that infants get fitted with prostheses as early as 9 to 12 months old. At this stage, they are usually given passive prosthetic limbs. This will allow them to get used to their new limb and make the transition process easier.

Starting from around age two, the child may benefit from activity-specific prosthetic attachments for sports and other hobbies. Myoelectric limbs only become a realistic option from around age three or four.

It is important to discuss your child’s needs and goals with your pediatrician and an experienced prosthetic provider so they can help you find the right prosthetic device.

How Are Pediatric Prosthetics Different from Adult Prosthetics?

Fitting children with prosthetic limbs is significantly different from helping adults in the same situation. Unlike adults, children don’t yet have the experience, emotional maturity, and physical strength needed to respond to the transition in the same way.

From the assessment to fitting and review appointments, children require a team of pediatricians, physical therapists, prosthetic specialists, and other caregivers to provide them with the sensitive and customized care they deserve during the process.

Another major difference between prosthetic limbs for children and adults is that children will have to replace their current prosthetic limbs every 18 to 26 months. This is essential as children require prostheses that fit them properly and support them as they grow and develop fine motor skills.

At FIT Prosthetics, we have extensive experience working with pediatric prosthetics, and you can rely on us to always ensure your child is properly equipped.

How to Help Children Adjust to Their New Prostheses?

Stay Informed and Prepared

First, you need to take time to prepare your child and yourself for the changes that are about to come. Read up on limb differences and prosthetic limb care so you can be a source of support and knowledge for your kid on this journey.

Talk to the prosthetist working with your child and find out about all your options and how you can emotionally and physically support your child through this transition. They will also be able to brief you on the latest development in prosthetics and direct you towards the perfect option for your child.

Keep Children in the Loop

The whole process can be a lot scarier for your child when they don’t understand what’s happening. As you will both be making several trips to and from your prosthetist’s office for years to come, it is best to explain to them what’s happening and what they can expect in the future. This is more so important for older children and teenagers.

Better Communication

There will be an adjustment period before your children get used to their new limbs. Work with your children and their rehabilitation team to better understand how to strap on, take off, and care for the prostheses. Don’t forget to ask your prosthetist to teach you to recognize the signs of a poor fit so you can get your child’s prosthesis adjusted promptly.

Your child will have many questions about wearing a prosthetic. Be open and communicative and answer them honestly. Find support groups for you and your child where you can meet people who’ve had similar experiences. Moreover, interacting with other kids who have prosthetic limbs will help your child find the confidence and peer support they need to thrive.

Also, communicate with friends, family, teachers to help them better understand and cater to your child’s needs.

Teach Your Child Proper Limb and Prosthetic Care

Teaching your child how to care for their prosthetic limb will make them feel like it belongs to them instead of something they are forced to wear. It will also help them feel like they have some control over the situation and let them be more independent. Instruct your kids to:

●      Wash their limbs frequently and thoroughly. It is also important to pat it completely dry to avoid infections.

●      Self-inspect regularly for redness and any other signs of infection.

●      Clean every part of the prosthesis that comes in contact with their skin.

●      Check their prosthetic daily to ensure it is a proper fit.

●      Always have emergency supplies like extra socks on hand.

At FIT Prosthetics, we understand how difficult it can be to support your child during their transition to their new normal. But, you don’t have to do it alone—our skilled and compassionate staff will be there for your child from the initial consultation to the end of their rehabilitation. We provide a wide range of services to cater to your kid’s specific needs, so contact us today.

Travel Tips for Amputees

Traveling is an amazing experience that has the potential to transform your life. However, it is impossible to deny that planning a holiday trip can be quite stressful—especially for amputees. Fortunately, with prior research and some smart planning, you can minimize travel stress and enjoy your well-deserved vacation.

Keep reading to see FIT Prosthetic’s list of useful traveling tips and hacks for amputees so you can make the most out of your dream vacation.

Great Planning Leads to Great Trips

When traveling with a prosthesis, it is important to research and plan ahead for a smooth and enjoyable vacation. Your travel destination might not necessarily be as accessible (or inaccessible) as your hometown. So, find out as much as possible about the places you plan to visit before buying the ticket.

Look for accessible, amputee-friendly facilities near your destination. Call ahead to enquire about elevators, wheelchair accessibility, and other concerns you might have before choosing a hotel or visiting a tourist attraction. Thorough research will allow you to avoid frustration and disappointing situations.

There are several disability-friendly tourist destinations around the world. You can also avail the help of special needs travel agencies to organize the perfect trip. If you’re nervous about traveling for the first time post-amputation, choose American tourist destinations where the Americans with Disabilities Act is most likely to apply.

Try to find a disability-friendly hotel. When booking your hotel room, get as many details as possible—especially if you require a wheelchair-accessible room. Since elevators can sometimes shut down during emergencies, ask for a room that is on or close to the first floor. Finally, request to see the room before checking in to confirm that it is what you expected. You can also use apps like iAccessLife to find out how accessible the hotel was for other adaptive needs travelers.

Additionally, several online apps such as Flush and RoadTrippers can help take the stress out of traveling with a prosthesis.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Good planning doesn’t just end with choosing the right destination and finding amputee-friendly hotel accommodations and tourist spots. You need to have a plan in place for every scenario you can think of—even the worst-case ones.

Check Your Prosthetics Before Departure Day

Before departing on the trip, make sure that all the components of your prosthetic limbs are working as they should be. Examine them closely for cracks, tears in the liners, loose parts, and strange sounds. If you find any of these warning signs, get them fixed immediately so you can avoid the hassle of a broken or wobbly prosthetic limb while you’re out camping in the wilderness.

Pack Extras

You can always rely on secondary mobility aids if your prosthesis breaks. Duct tapes and super glue can help a lot when it comes to broken prosthetic limbs so make sure to always keep them handy.

Airlines can at times lose luggage. Make sure to add necessary spare parts in your carry-on bag to avoid running into trouble with your prosthesis. This includes:

●      Extra Prosthetic Socks

●      Small Tool Kit with Screwdriver and 4mm Allen Key

●      Extra Socket Liner

●      Donning Sleeves

●      Shrinkers

●      4mm Allen Key

●      Extra Sealing Sleeves

●      Spare Prosthic Screws

●      Chargers or Batteries

Bags containing medical devices are free of cost, so airlines can’t charge you extra for a bag carrying prosthetic parts or supplies. Remember, this exclusively applies to bags carrying only medical devices. Don’t forget to carry plastic bags to cover prosthetic limbs when near sand or water.

Save Important Phone Numbers

Before you leave for the trip, find and save the names and phone numbers of prosthetists and hospitals in the area where you’re vacationing. This way, you will know who to call and where to go if something happens to your prosthesis.

Smart Packing

You need to pack with the weather in mind. If you’re traveling to a warm and humid place, perspiration can cause abrasions on your stump. Remember to carry antiperspirant sprays and body powder to keep your stump dry.

On the other hand, if you have a prosthetic leg and are traveling to someplace cold, make sure you wear rubber-soled sneakers, winter boots, or cleats that fit your prosthesis comfortably. If you find the terrain difficult to navigate, don’t hesitate to use canes, walkers, and crutches.

Don’t forget to bring skin lotions and antibiotic ointments to protect your stump from sores. You also need to keep hygiene in mind. Use a cleanser to wipe your prosthesis’ sockets, liners, and suspensions sleeves to keep them free from dry sweat and bacteria. Talk to your doctor to ensure you find a cleanser that suits your prosthetic limbs’ material.

Research Baggage Rules

Though luggage policies vary from country to country, most airports allow you to check in medical bags at no extra cost. If you have a disability or medical condition, the TSA allows all prescription and over-the-counter medications, life-supporting devices, and mobility aids if declared. Medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols are also exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Inform your TSA office if you want your liquid medications opened or screened by X-ray. A declaration can be given verbally, in writing, or by a companion, caregiver, interpreter, or family member.

Some airlines may have weight restrictions on wheelchairs—make sure to check ahead for them. If you’re a wheelchair user, you may need to alert the airlines before departure day. This allows the staff to provide you with the level of assistance you require. Airport escorts are there to get you to the terminal on time, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of their services.

Navigating Airport Security—What to Expect

Airport security is usually the most disliked part of traveling for most people. The ion scanners and intrusive agents can make the experience even more daunting for people with prostheses. Planning and preparing in advance can help you get through the situation without any hitches.

Get to the airport as early as possible. It is better to get to your gate with time to spare than get delayed and miss your flight because of security delays.

First, know that you are under no obligation to remove your prosthetic limbs during your TSA screening. You just need to inform your TSA office beforehand that you have a prosthetic device. As part of the screening process, security officers may need to see and touch your prosthesis, cast, or support brace.

Your TSA officer will probably perform additional screening if your prosthesis sets off the metal detector alarm. They may also ask you to do a self pat-down of the area. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and slippers, so it is easy to show your prosthesis when required. Canes, wheelchairs, and crutches will be sent through the x-ray line and be swab tested for explosives.

You can ask for a private screening at any point during the screening of your prosthesis. You can also have a companion, assistant, or family member accompany you into the private screening area after they’ve been screened. You don’t have to display the belt holding your prosthetic limb in place if you don’t want to.

However, you are also free to refuse any offer of a private screening. The screening will still have to be conducted publicly if you want to cross the screening checkpoint. If you find it difficult to stand for the hand-held metal detector test, you can request to sit down after walking through the metal detector. Please notify the TSA officer of any assistance you may require during the security check.

In case the TSA officer questions your disability, it is advisable to carry a letter from your doctor confirming your need for a prosthesis.

Prioritize Your Comfort when Traveling

Ask for Wheelchair Assistance

Airports can be exhausting to navigate, even for non-disabled people. It can be even more exhausting as an amputee when you have to connect flights at a large airport. Don’t hesitate to ask for wheelchair assistance in this situation. Not only will it save you from the strenuous walk, but it will also get you to the front of the line at customs.

Request Bulkhead Seating

Talk to your flight attendant before boarding. This allows you to ask for bulkhead or aisle seating and inform them of any other assistance you may need. Bulkhead seating refers to the front row seats that face a wall. If they are not available, ask for an aisle seat close to the front of the plane.

Take Breaks from Sitting

Sitting for hours can cause the stump to swell, making it difficult to get your prosthetic limb on at the end of the flight. Standing up and walking down the aisle can help reduce the swelling. If you prefer taking off the prosthesis while flying, wear a prosthetic shrinker to control the swelling.

Consider Alternate Forms of Transportation

Sometimes traveling by train or bus can be preferable to flying. There are several alternative disability-friendly transportation options like Amtrak and the Greyhound Line.

Amidst all the planning and preparation, don’t forget the most important part of your vacation—having fun! Being an amputee shouldn’t stop you from living the life you want. At FIT Prosthetics, we offer a wide range of services to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to see how we can get the best prosthesis for you!

The 9 Stages of Post-Amputation Physical Therapy & Prosthetic Training

Losing a limb can be incredibly traumatic, and can affect a person both physically and mentally. New amputees don’t just have to manage their grief over their lost limb, but will also have to relearn how to do things that might have been second nature to them. Undergoing an amputation is a life-changing experience, but with the help of modern prosthetics, a seamless rehabilitation is not just possible, but highly achievable.

Over 2 million people live with limb loss in the U.S, and this number is expected to double by 2050 due to the rising prevalence of diabetes and vascular disease. Apart from disease, amputations can be caused by trauma, cancer, or congenital disorders. The majority of amputations are in the lower extremity, which makes physical therapy extremely important during the rehabilitation process.

What Is Amputation Rehabilitation?

Losing a limb, especially a lower limb, will severely impact a person’s mobility and ability to perform daily activities. These obstacles can create a lot of mental stress, as the amputee may feel isolated and unable to easily reintegrate into society. The goal of amputation rehabilitation is to facilitate the recovery of the amputee with prosthetic training so they can return to their lives.

Due to the different hurdles a new amputee faces after their surgery, it’s necessary that amputation rehabilitation is done with a multidisciplinary team. Rehabilitation teams will usually have a physiotherapist in charge, and may include a prosthetist as well to ensure that the prosthesis fitting and training goes smoothly.

Phases of Amputation Rehabilitation

Amputation rehabilitation can be a long and arduous process involving an entire team dedicated to the patient to ensure that they return to a high level of social integration. Amputation rehabilitation typically has nine stages, although certain phases may not be standardized.

Similarly, not everyone will go through the rehabilitation process in the same way—people experience different milestones at different moments in their recovery depending on several factors such as the cause of limb loss, their rehabilitation team, support systems, and more.

1.   Pre-Operative Phase

The pre-operative phase primarily focuses on educating the patient and preparing them for the journey of recovery. This phase is important for those who are facing limb loss due reasons that do not involve accidents or trauma, which require instant treatment. It is important for the doctor or rehabilitation team to take this time to explore patient expectations, and reinforce rational expectations while providing clarity for false assumptions. This time is also used to discuss the surgery as well as to draw up post-operative plans, including choosing and planning out the prosthetic limb with the prosthetist.

2.   During Surgery

Patients will be asleep during the surgery phase, but they can always ask their doctor or surgeon about the procedure beforehand to understand the process of amputation surgery and reconstruction.

3.   Immediate Post-Operative Phase

The immediate post-operative phase begins immediately after the amputation and mostly focuses on recovery in terms of medical and wound care as well as discharge planning. Rehabilitation in this phase will initially involve a lot of pain control and emotional support, but physiotherapy is also necessary at this point to prevent loss of motion.

While there is no easy part of recovery, this stage will likely be one of the most challenging ones for new amputees to face. Apart from the mental difficulties of accepting their new body and mobility, they will also face physical problems. Physical therapy in this period will therefore be focused on ensuring that they don’t lose out on critical mobility skills with specific exercises to improve strength, tolerance, and range of motion.

4.   Pre-Prosthetic Training Phase

This phase is a continuation of the previous phase, with even more emphasis placed on physical therapy to strengthen the limb and maintain flexibility. Pre-prosthetic training also proceeds with the final shaping of the limb to fit the patient’s future prosthesis. Pre-prosthetic training can happen in an inpatient and outpatient capacity and prepares the limb for the prosthetic limb while it heals. Many rehabilitation teams will also conduct pre-prosthetic training prior to the surgery as well.

The main goals of this phase are to promote mobility, self-care, and comprehensive limb support. Patients can also experiment with early walking aids (EWA) to properly narrow down their choice of prostheses options before placing an order, along with exercise therapy and pre-fitting management.

5.   Prosthetic Prescription Phase

The prosthetic prescription phase has two main components:

●      Casting and measuring. The prosthetist will cast and measure the patient’s residuum (the part of the limb remaining after an amputation). The physiotherapist can assist during the casting process to make sure that the pelvis maintains a neutral alignment.

●      Fitting of the prosthetic limb. The prosthetist will then fit the primary prosthesis to the limb to ensure that the alignment and length suit the patient correctly when standing and walking. Physiotherapy is also necessary at this point to provide mobility guidance and training for weight-bearing and static balance.

This phase is a prominent milestone in the recovery process and is vital to the prolonged success of the prosthetic limb.

6.   Prosthetic Training Phase

Once the patient has been successfully fitted for a prosthesis, the patient will begin specialized physical therapy—to increase strength and endurance, increase mobility, and maximize comfort and functionality. During this process, the prosthetist can adjust the prosthesis as required as and when problems arise. The first few months will require a temporary prosthesis as their limb continues to heal, after which they will be fitted with a permanent prosthetic limb.

Physical therapy becomes the core aspect of the rehabilitation process in this phase. Apart from exercises, the patient will also need to be educated on how to properly remove and put on the prosthesis, how to put on footwear and get dressed, as well as training for weight-bearing and skin integrity. They will also have to practice integrating the prosthesis into all their activities. Once the basics of weight-bearing training are over, the patient will have to practice balance, sensory reintegration, muscle re-education, and gait training.

7.   Functional Training Phase

At this point in the rehabilitation process, the patient will probably have learned to function more independently. They will have been discharged, meaning that occupational therapy will now play a large role as the patient resumes their role in their family, community, as well as their hobbies. Occupational therapists will also assist with vocational rehabilitation and training or job modifications.

They will still undergo physical therapy and will learn how to best use their prosthetic limb, as well as how to care for it with regular skin checks and hygiene. It is also important to continue doing contracture prevention exercises as the new amputee slowly reintegrates back into their lifestyle.

8.   Guided Rehabilitation Phase

This phase mostly focuses on the patient’s specific goals as they return to their daily activities. At this point, the rehabilitation plan will need to be tailored or modified to better suit the specific goals and needs of the new amputee. This can include goals such as wanting to go on a hike, running, swimming, cycling, etc., for which the physical therapist can provide strengthening and stretching exercises to specifically achieve that goal.

If you have a specific sport you would like to do; you can also consult a recreational physical therapist who can help you return to your preferred sports and can help you with adaptive recreation equipment.

9.   Follow-Ups Phase

The follow-up or maintenance phase ensures that the patient’s rehabilitation plan and goals continue to grow or change to fit the patient. The patient will be reviewed regularly by the rehabilitation team, namely the physiotherapist, the consultant, and the prosthetic team. They will assess the current function of the prosthesis, if the patient is in need of any adjustments or even a new prosthesis. Depending on the current status of the patient, their physical therapy program can be modified as well.

The goal of these follow-ups is to ensure that the patient has achieved a level of autonomy and function similar or higher than they did before the amputation, as well as to ascertain their physical, mental, and emotional health.

At Fit Prosthetics, we understand that the journey of a new amputee is a difficult one—but you don’t have to do it alone. We are dedicated to being there for you from the initial consultation to the end of your rehabilitation. We provide a wide range of services to provide for your specific needs, so contact us today.

To learn more about funding options and our partners, check out our resources here. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

The Challenger Foot by Ottobock

The Challenger is a multi-purpose foot developed for the varying demands from everyday walking to recreational sports.

High deflection of the curved main spring provides excellent shock absorption, which is desired for court sports like tennis or basketball, and energy return for activities such as sprinting and long distance running. The base spring and adjustable heel damping allow for stability and control during rapid movements, while walking, and while standing.

The Challenger fits with most lower profile shoes and comes with exchangeable heel wedges to support a large variety of sports and other individual needs. Excellent choice for active individuals with below or above knee fittings.

USER REVIEW

The Challenger Foot is a great high activity foot. It feels very similar to the AllPro Foot by Fillauer. The adjustable heel damping allows for more control specific to the users needs. The big benefit of this foot is that it does not need a footshell. It fits snug into most shoes so you don’t need to worry about the extra play between the shoe and footshell. I recommend this foot for high activity users that enjoy playing extra sports, or have a little one to chase around. Contact us today to request a trial!

 

What you should know about Diabetic Limb Loss

Diabetes is a condition in which your body cannot produce the insulin that’s needed to moderate your blood glucose levels. When you begin to experience a disruption in your natural metabolism of carbohydrates, your body begins to have increased levels of glucose in both the urine and the blood, thus resulting in diabetes.

Unfortunately, you won’t always feel any symptoms of diabetes, at least not right away. It’s vital to see your physician every year to get blood work done and have your glucose levels checked. If left untreated, diabetes can cause a wide variety of additional health concerns, including kidney damage, heart disease, nerve damage, and limb loss. Read on to learn more about the link between diabetes and limb loss.

The Effects of Diabetes on Your Limbs

One of the most serious complications caused by diabetes is referred to as diabetic limb loss, which is something that can happen as your condition worsens over time. Approximately five out of every 1,000 individuals suffering from diabetes will require a lower extremity amputation, per a 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

Fortunately, there are options that can be customized to fit your lifestyle following an amputation. InMotion Prosthetics has the latest in prosthetic limbs tailored to suit a variety of lifestyles. There are many styles you can choose from.

But first, let’s explore why diabetic limb loss happens and what symptoms to look out for. Keeping yourself in the loop is the first step in limb loss prevention!

What Is Diabetic Limb Loss?

Diabetic limb loss occurs when your system undergoes a disruption in the flow of blood through your arteries. This is known as peripheral artery disease, or PAD. It includes a thinning of your arteries, thus limiting the amount of blood necessary for keeping your feet and legs healthy and safe from further harm.

PAD may lead to other complications such as open sores or ulcers. You might even experience infections which are serious enough to lead to gangrene. All of these physical problems are the result of a lack of blood flow to your lower limbs. This lack of blood flow can increase numbness in your limbs, making it much harder for you to feel any sensations in that area.

This is when you experience diabetic neuropathy, which involves the lack of feeling in a certain limb. This is also due to blood flow that has been seriously limited due to diabetes.

Neuropathy and its Impact on Nerve Function and Limb Loss

Neuropathy is best described as significant nerve damage which results from increased levels of sugar in your blood that destroy blood vessels. This can significantly impact your nerves and lead to that loss of feeling in the affected areas, which are typically your legs and feet.

You won’t necessarily feel any sensations such as pain or movement, which can be dangerous in some situations. If you can’t feel anything, then an injury or an ulcer may not be treated in time. That’s why it’s important to check your feet and legs for any cuts, burns, or bruises in order to prevent the possibility of gangrene and a potential amputation of the affected limb.

What to Look for When Checking Your Feet and Legs

It’s important to do an inspection of your feet and legs at least one time per day. This inspection should include looking for all cuts, big or small, plus any ulcers or other injuries. Even bruises and other abrasions should be noted when found.

There are other areas to cover when you do a daily check of your feet and legs. You should look for any toenail injuries and note anything unusual or suspicious. Blisters, calluses, and white spots should be reported immediately to your doctor. Other issues such as plantar warts and ingrown toenails also need attention. Any discoloration could be an indicator of a significant drop in blood supply.

What You Can Do to Minimize the Possibility of Limb Loss

There are preventive steps you can take to keep your limbs as healthy as possible. For instance, you can wear protective shoes to help keep your feet comfortable and safe during normal walking. These special shoes require a doctor’s prescription and can be covered by most insurance, including Medicare. They offer complete protection over your entire foot in an effort to protect them from anything that could lead to a serious injury.

Another solution is to make regular visits to see your doctor. They can help you with your questions and concerns and will even work out a continuing treatment plan for you. That plan will include working on diet, exercise, and weight loss. They may also adjust your medications as needed and show you how to check your feet for cuts, warts, and dead tissue.

If an infection does happen, there are initial steps your doctor can take other than a complete limb amputation. They can do surgery to remove old, dead, and damaged tissue or prescribe an antibiotic to ward off the infection. In some cases, a foot topical can be applied. In other cases, a special procedure known as revascularization can be done to improve circulation to that limb.

Lifestyle Changes

There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the likelihood of diabetic limb loss. One is to cut out sodas and sugars. You can also move around more and increase your daily exercise routine—a minimum of 30 minutes per day is highly recommended for best results. Regular blood pressure checks can help ensure that you have proper circulation and that there is no PAD to worry about.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when holistic measures such as diet and exercise don’t work. In instances when all other treatments have failed, limb amputation may be the final solution.

Factors Which Contribute to Diabetic Limb Loss

There are factors that may increase your risk of an amputation. One is having a family history of diabetes. That alone is enough to warrant a cause for concern and a routine trip to the doctor for blood sugar monitoring. This can help ward off any possibility of a potential lower limb amputation.

Other factors include open sores, bunions, and infections. When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, getting your legs and feet checked becomes a must. Washing your feet thoroughly can help prevent a serious infection that could lead to an amputation down the road.

What to Expect

The good news is that amputation can be done in a way that doesn’t limit your life—and that’s where FIT Prosthetics comes in.

Your operation will typically require a stay in the hospital. After the procedure, you may end up staying for a few days under observation. Vitals and blood work will be assessed, and you will need frequent wound cleansing and dressing changes.

Recovery takes time after any operation, especially an amputation. You may need weeks of ongoing support, along with intense physical therapy, just to get you back on your feet again. Our team can help support you through the prosthesis stage, fitting you with the right prosthetic limb for your specific lifestyle and needs.

Can Diabetics Wear Prosthetic Limbs?

Most people who receive an amputation due to diabetes complications will use a prosthesis. You will need to be evaluated and declared an eligible candidate for a prosthetic limb, however. The next step of being fitted for a prosthetic limb will generally happen after you’ve healed from your procedure.

Staff at FIT Prosthetics can work with patients from all walks of life, from small children to seniors. Before making the prosthesis, the patient is evaluated. Questions are asked about lifestyle, work, hobbies, and level of physical activity. This gives our team a chance to design a custom limb that’s right for you.

We offer a variety of prosthetic limbs from which to choose. We have limbs that can help you walk as if they were natural. This is thanks to special microprocessor technology that allows each limb to be specially programmed to bend, flex, and move in the most authentic way. Fingers can grip, toes can move, and dexterity is possible in every corner. But this is only the beginning.

Next, getting adjusted to your brand-new prosthesis should be your main goal. Your doctor may require physical therapy just to get you familiar with the use of your new limb. Our team at FIT PROSTHETICS can answer your questions and address your concerns as you go through the recovery and adjustment process.

If you or a loved one is dealing with diabetic limb loss, contact FIT Prosthetics in Murray, UT, to find out how we can help make the process a smoother one.