Author Archives: Alec McMorris

10 Benefits of Joining an Amputee Support Group

Life after an amputation can be emotionally challenging. Though your family members, friends, and doctors are there to support you, they may not fully understand what you’re going through. Most often, they might think that you are coping well—especially after getting a prosthesis. An amputee support group can help you process your feelings and gain a new perspective as you navigate through life after the amputation.

Read on to know more about the benefits of joining an amputee support group.

Get Help Processing Your Emotions and Improve Your Understanding of Amputation

Denial, loneliness, and isolation are common reactions to amputation. It might be difficult sharing your experience with your doctors or loved ones. Joining a support group will allow you to interact with fellow amputees who can relate to these feelings. Learning from their experiences can make you realize that you are not alone. An amputee support group can also help you know more about living life with a prosthetic implant.

Helps You Cope with Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom limb sensation and phantom limb pain are common among new amputees. It is the feeling that you still have the missing body part, and so you may attempt to use that hand, foot, leg, or arm as you normally would.

It is often described as crushing, toes twisting, hot iron, burning, tingling, cramping, shocking, and shooting pain in the amputated area. The nerves connected to the missing body part still exist, and they signal the brain that the limb is in pain, which causes phantom limb pain.

Talking to others in an amputee support group can help you understand why it’s happening and how to cope with it. Additionally, those in the group may have also experienced phantom pains at some point. They can point you in the direction of a few treatments that have helped them cope with their phantom limb sensation.

Address Feelings of Self-Worth and Self-Esteem

A lot of emotions boil to the surface after losing part of your body. If the part had to be amputated due to medical reasons, you might be relieved that the disease is gone but extremely sad that you no longer have that part of your body. You may have a lot of self-confidence or self-esteem issues because you feel people might look at you differently. You may even feel some self-loathing or loss of identity, and these are perfectly normal feelings.

Although, it is essential to grow from these feelings into a healthier state of mind. To do that, many amputees in Texas join support groups to help address and deal with these complicated feelings. These groups provide multiple valuable resources to amputees, and not just emotional support. They can help you process these feelings and learn how to regain your confidence.

Find a Mentor

Many support groups often provide new members with a mentor or sponsor who can help them through difficult times. These mentors are amputees who have learned how to cope and manage well, and they have been trained on how to counsel new members through the beginning stages of amputation. When you really need someone to talk to, it helps to have a mentor who understands what you are going through. They know firsthand what you are dealing with, and they can offer you a new perspective as you recover.

Make an Informed Decision About Prostheses

Thanks to technological advancements in the medical field, bionics or mechanical body parts that very closely work with signals in the human brain to mimic human movements are available to patients. After your amputation site has had time to heal over, your doctor may suggest a prosthesis. Peers from a support group can help you learn more about this option and understand how life after a prosthetic implant will be. They can help you make a well-informed decision. The group can also help you connect with non-profit organizations that can help you with funding for your prosthesis.

Connect to Resources for Specialty Prostheses and Programs

Joining amputee support groups connects you to dozens of resources in your area. There are various programs for amputees such as,

●      Programs to help people who are about to have an amputation

●      Programs to help people adapt to life after their amputation

●      Programs to support those who want to be athletic and/or para-athletes

●      Programs to guide those who want to be part of testing new and advanced prostheses for marketing and development purposes.

 

Additionally, there are programs to help you learn how to advocate for yourself and your needs going forward. Being an amputee doesn’t make you disabled; it makes you differently-abled. Prostheses can assist you in everything you do and help you lead a normal life. Learning to live with a mechanical extension of your body’s natural parts and be fully employed means learning to advocate for your rights as a human being. There are support groups that can show you how to do that.

Support Groups for Military Veterans Who Have Had Amputations

There are support groups for veterans who have lost a limb, hand, foot, etc. The trauma endured because of losing a body part in a war is very different and difficult to process, which is why they have their own support groups. If you are a veteran amputee, you can join a support group with other veterans and/or a support group with non-military amputees as you see fit. These groups can help you recover from the trauma and adapt to everyday life.

Learn How Other Amputees Stay Active, Fit, and Healthy

Losing a foot or a leg doesn’t mean that a person has to be wheelchair-bound for life. There are various limb prostheses options such as running blade prosthesis, single foot/full running shoe prostheses, and more to help them get up and get moving. Similarly, if you are missing an arm below the shoulder, elbow, or hand, prostheses are made to help you keep that side of your body in shape. Peers from a support group can help you know more about the options available for you.

An amputee support group can help you understand what physical activities you can undertake to stay fit and active. You might even be able to lift weights to keep your shoulder and back muscles healthy. Learning about the workout routines and physical activities of other amputees can encourage you to try them out and stay fit.

Find Camaraderie Without Pity

You may find that people connect to you in different ways now. Some may have compassion, while others show pity. Most amputees just want to be friends, and they want to be accepted. Initially, trying to figure this out isn’t always easy. Making friends with other amputees through support groups can help you navigate new social waters better and even provide you with some friends who get what you’re going through.

It may also be difficult for your spouse or significant other to understand how you are feeling right now. Joining a support group helps you and your partner figure out how to navigate your relationship now. Sometimes spouses and significant others are invited to group meetings to share their thoughts and feelings, and that can make a really big difference in how well you stay connected to each other.

Learn Which Healthcare Plans and Insurance Providers Will Pay for Prostheses

While you may want the best in a prosthesis, you also have to pay for it to be made and fitted. Knowing whether or not your insurance covers it is a good place to start. Being in a support group, you can ask these questions of others present to find out which insurance providers will cover most of the costs of your new prosthesis.

You can even change insurance providers if necessary to gain access to the best equipment you can get. The less out-of-pocket you pay, the better you may feel about wearing a prosthesis. Your peers from a support group are a really good source to consult on these matters. At FIT Prosthetics, we work with several amputee partners that help those who need a prosthesis. Some of our partners are non-profits and give those who aren’t able to get funding a prosthesis.

You don’t have to give up on life when you become an amputee. Navigate through life and get the best solutions to lead a better life with FIT Prosthetics. Contact Us today to see how we can construct the best prosthesis for you! Our team can provide you with more support and guide you as you begin this new stage in your life.

3 Types of Upper Extremity Prosthetics

Are you missing a hand or one of your digits? Do you want to practice fencing, painting, or do you simply want to be able to independently care for yourself? While old-school prosthetics had trouble performing even rudimentary tasks, modern prosthetics have a much wider range of usability. At FIT PROSTHETICS, we can help you and other locals find the prosthesis that’s right for your needs.

Significant Changes in Technology

There have been a lot of changes in prosthetic technology and design in the past few years.

 

While advanced low-tech options do exist, chances are you would greatly benefit from one of the high-tech solutions that could allow you far more usability. In the past, you had to be very careful about how much you could trust your prosthesis to do. Nowadays, prosthetics are a lot smarter and more reliable.

 

Prosthesis fingers have improved mechanics and functionality and now have multiple motors, better batteries, more intelligent sensors, and more accurate grip strength when handling something delicate. Computers have also improved dramatically. It is now much easier to make detailed and sophisticated computer models of a prosthesis.

 

You can have a prosthesis designed for a great range of general activities, allowing you a lot more freedom than what used to be possible. It is even easy to develop specialty prosthetics for specific activities like sports, jobs, and various hobbies.

 

If you have an older prosthetic, now would be an excellent time to consider a major upgrade.

Types of Upper Body Prosthetics We Offer

At FIT Prosthetics, we have several types of prostheses to meet almost any patient’s needs. These options range from various brands of electric motor-driven hooks to state-of-the-art cyborg-like electric hands, and even individual prosthetic digits. Here are some of the hands and fingers we offer at FIT Prosthetics:

Body-Powered Heavy Duty System

heavy-duty body-powered system is a controllable prosthesis system that does not use electronics at all. It is mechanically powered, and it works based on the position of your arms and body. Body-powered prosthetics are great for dusty outside work environments.

 

You do not need to worry about the electronics getting damaged because there are no electronic parts. When you want to do water activities, you are working on a ranch, or you are a tradesman, then a heavy-duty body-powered system is a good choice. These are also great for recreational activities like camping, hiking, or doing contact sports.

 

Because these are purely mechanical, and they have a relatively simple design, you do not have to worry as much about them getting banged up. With an electric prosthesis, you need to be mindful of what type of environment you take your artificial limb into.

 

The heavy-duty body-powered system also has a lot fewer limitations. You never have to worry about losing power and your prosthesis turning into a deadweight.

 

Unlike electronic devices that can take a while to learn to use and rely on computers to understand what you are trying to do, body-powered devices just work based on how you move your body. You just put the device on, and once you get the hang of how they operate, you can start to use them.

Myo i-Limbs and i-Digits

Myo i-limbs are tools that have the shape of a human hand and can grab things similar to a human hand. Once you learn how to use it, you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it can make in your life.

 

Unlike hooks which stand out a lot, the i-limb looks very similar to a human hand. There are three general sizes available, and with proper training, you can even use the i-limb to write your name.

 

These limbs do use some electronics, so you will want to be mindful of the environment you take them in; however, they work great in the vast majority of places. You could wear a glove around them, but the design is sleek enough that you won’t feel the need.

 

i-limbs are like the prosthesis found in science fiction stories. You can even get a finger with a stylus on it so that you can operate a touchscreen like on a tablet or a smartphone.

 

This prosthetic uses Myo-band technology to detect electric signals you send to your muscles and then reads and communicates these signals to the prosthesis. The prosthesis picks up those signals and performs a pre-programmed operation of the hand or digits.

 

You have a limited number of actions and patterns of movement the hand can perform. The device cannot perform actions the same way a flesh hand can, and you need to train your brain to use it.

 

When getting fitted for this prosthesis, you learn the pre-programmed signals that the device can use and perform the appropriate action to trigger those signals.

 

Myo-i technology is at the cutting edge of the technology we have available today, and it shows great promise for the world of tomorrow.

ETD Myo Hooks

Hooks may not be as aesthetically pleasing as prostheses that look like hands, but they have a lot of versatility. These hooks are precise enough that you can crack an egg with them.

 

Hooks are well-liked in the prosthetic community due to their versatility and simplicity of operations. However, prostheses that look and operate more like human hands may have a steeper learning curve in their day-to-day operation. They may also have a more limited range of functions.

 

However, while learning to use a hook does take some practice, it can generally be picked up to basic usability faster than the hand-shaped prosthetics.

Myo-Electric Hand

This is a less advanced prosthesis that works similarly to the i-limb and i-digits. Your brain sends signals to your muscles, which are translated to the robot hand through sensors. It looks like a flesh hand, but only the first three fingers work. The other two are strictly cosmetic.

Be-bionic

be-bionic prosthetics are eclectic arms that, much like the i-limb brand, read the signals you send to your muscles to activate different grips.

 

You push a button on the arm to select what set of grips you want (with 14 types of grips in total), and then you flex your muscles to control the arm. It has a battery indicator on the arm, and the charge lasts about a day. These hands are available in two different sizes and with three wrist versions to suit individual requirements.

 

Be-bionic prosthesis hands have been transforming the lives and abilities of amputees around the world since their conception by helping them perform simple tasks like tying shoelaces, to giving them back their control and self-esteem.

The Taska Hand

The taska hand is a heavy-duty electric hand much like the be-bionic. Unlike the be-bionic prosthetic hand, the taska is waterproof up to the wrist.

 

It has buttons to select what type of grip pattern you want to use on the back of the hand. You can use your muscles to rotate the wrist of the taska an entire 360 degrees.

 

In addition to the versatility of the taska hand, it has a quick-disconnect feature with infinite rotations, reliable release, and improved life. The dual-release buttons make it easier and faster to change your hand, while also enhancing grip security and preventing unwanted releases.

How FIT Prosthetics Will Help You Find the Best Prosthesis for Your Situation

In the end, there are a lot of prosthetic options. What is best for you will depend on the extent and shape of your missing extremity, your desired tasks, comfort, and goals.

 

When you call us, we will schedule a preliminary consultation to determine your needs and discuss what options are available. Sometimes you may want a high-tech solution. Other times, a purely mechanical solution would work best for your situation while others will get a range of prosthetics for different situations, like being in public versus at home.

 

After your scheduled consultations with us, we can begin the fitting process. We are located in Murray, or we can come to you! We will use our 3D scanning and 3D printing technology to provide you with the best fit possible.

 

Once that is done, we can then order the best type of prosthetic hand or prosthetic finger for your unique situation.

Are You in the Market for a New Prosthesis?

Are you fed up with poorly fitted prosthetics that don’t work when and how you need them? Do you want to take back your mobility and get a prosthetic that lives up to its promises?

 

If you are ready to see the possibilities that a new prosthetic can bring, contact FIT Prosthetics and put your goals in motion today. Our staff is ready to help you get the right prosthesis!

FREEDOM QUATTRO BY PROTEOR

Freedom QUATTRO Microprocessor Knee by PROTEOR is designed to give users the freedom to live their lives without interruption. With PROTEOR’s innovative H.A.R.T. Control Technology, Quattro is the first MPK to provide a unique customized experience that captures users’ distinctive gait patterns. Boasting 20 user modes, remote data capture, outcome measure reporting, and independent resistance for stairs/ramps and sitting, it challenges and drives the status quo for MPK’s to the next level.

USER REVIEW

I have tried this knee a few times although it was before the production model hit the market. 20 user modes is vast compared to other knees out there, and gives users more control over their daily routine. It has a shorter build height than most knees, which makes it easier to fit to the majority of above knee patients. It has a built in battery that lasts up to 3 days depending on how active you are on a day to day basis. In my opinion it is very similar to the C-Leg, with a few key differences, including price. Message us today to request a trial!

 

 

Transtibial Amputation Prosthetics FAQ

What Is Transtibial Amputation?

If you are not familiar with medical lingo, transtibial amputation refers to the amputation of the parts of the leg that are located below the knee. This is typically only done in severe situations of damage to the area or of disease. Some of the reasons why someone would consider undergoing this could be because of diabetes, foot ulcers, or trauma to the area of the limb.

 

Most are performed because of peripheral vascular disease, which is a disease of the lower limb. The leg cannot heal if there is poor circulation, and this may cause it to ulcer and become infected beyond the point of medication. This is a life-threatening situation that can cost you dearly. And so, to save your life, the bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, and everything else are removed from the patient’s body to ensure a longer lifespan.

 

This type of amputation is performed by either a vascular or orthopedic surgeon who will remove the limb and then reshape the remaining limb to allow for the use of a prosthetic leg once they have recovered.

The Process and Physical Therapy

This surgery is often thought to be done as a last-minute decision in which you don’t have time to think before it must be done. The truth is that the scenario only happens in extreme situations in which leaving the infected limb attached for any length of time risks death.

 

Typically, you will have time to consider this very important alteration to your life and prepare for it. Physical therapists can be brought in to help prepare for how things will be different. Before surgery, they will help you by working on conditioning your body to help compensate for the loss of the limb by improving the strength in your hip and knee. They will also work with you on learning how to walk with a walker or crutches and educating you on what to prepare for when the procedure is over with.

 

After the surgery and the recovery time at the hospital, the physical therapist will work with you on rehabilitation and help to prevent any complications that may arise after surgery.

The Prosthetics Process

To help with the loss of an important limb, people can get prosthetics to replace it. This is a tool that can help improve a person’s lifestyle and give you some semblance of normalcy. To get one, the area where the prosthetic will be attached must be mapped out to ensure comfort.

 

Modern companies that specialize in this will use digital imagery to help ensure that the prosthetic is a perfect fit. Once it is made, the unit will be attached and altered to make sure that it is comfortable. The crafters will go over any maintenance that needs to be done and ensure you can understand the limits of this extension of the body. This can seem overwhelming, but companies like FIT PROSTHETICS will offer resources and in-person guides to ensure that you are fully prepared for this big change.

The Cost of Prosthesis

The price of a prosthetic limb can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000, and the life span of each prosthesis is only three to five years. This can make it expensive, but some resources can help. Some organizations will cover either the entire cost of the prosthetic or the majority of the cost with minimal expense. Finally, if you are a soldier, military insurance and veterans programs will help fund the cost of your prosthetic.

Things to Be Aware Of

Most people don’t know of the issues that arise when adding a prosthetic to their life. Though some of them can be troublesome, none of them are truly life-altering so long as you take the time to learn how to best counteract them.

 

One is called hyperhidrosis, which is excess sweating when the body is struggling to regulate its temperature.

 

Another is the changing of the limb shape as the body settles into the new prosthetic. Because the area of the knee that remains is rubbing and pressing down on the prosthetic, it can cause it to change forms, and that may mean you need either padding or possible replacement.

 

The next is weakness in the limb. This can make using the prosthetic troublesome for any length of time.

 

Finally, there is phantom limb pain that can make using prosthetics troublesome.

Pros of Prosthetics

Though there might be issues that come along with having one, a transtibial amputation prosthetic limb will improve your life. It will make walking easier. Plus, it will take away the need for crutches and replace them with a socially acceptable cane. Sitting and standing will become easier as you’ll have the support you need to do so stably. Also, the prosthesis can make you more comfortable, both physically and emotionally. A good prosthesis can help you feel as though you are physically complete. It can greatly improve your quality of life and help keep you from feeling socially ostracized.

For more information about prosthetics, reach out to us at FIT Prosthetics.

FREEDOM PLIE 3 BY PROTEOR

 

Stronger construction makes the new Plié 3 Microprocessor Controlled (MPC) Knee both submersible and more rugged than ever. Yet, it’s still the fastest MPC knee, responding 10 to 20 times more rapidly than other MPC knees. With the most responsive stumble and fall protection, users can instinctively move at their own pace in any direction…even if it’s taking small short steps or pivoting in confined spaces. And with a more streamlined, intuitive set up, the Plié 3 MPC Knee makes it even easier for prosthetists to help patients expand their freedom.

• K3 amputees that need customized stumble recovery for a variety of activities

• High K3 and K4 amputees that need a knee that adjusts to both walking and running

• Ambulate with variable cadence on uneven terrain

• Have adequate hip strength in flexion and extension

• Occasional water exposure

USER REVIEW

This is my everyday knee. It is the only microprocessor knee that I have owned. I love it for its functionality for active people with a strong hip. The external settings on the back make it simple to change the function of the knee, depending on what activity you are doing. I would say it feels similar to walking on C-LEG, without some of the safety features of the C-LEG. Because the knee does not have a lock, it can be tiresome standing on it for a long time. If you’re looking for a high activity knee that is user friendly, this is the knee for you!

 

Visit Our Lab

 

 

In this video we are giving a mini tour of our lab! If you would like to gain a better understanding of the lamination process and what goes into making your final socket, email us at: ALECM@FITPROSTHETICS.COM

Hip Disarticulation Prosthetics

Hip disarticulation refers to the removal of the entire leg up to the hip joint. This amputation can be very challenging for patients. Fortunately, amputees who have had a lower limb removed are not without hope. With a hip disarticulation prosthesis, you can expect to have upright mobility again. Using the prosthesis and subsequent rehabilitation, you will learn how to move the prosthetic hip joint as well as the knee, ankle, and foot.

What Is a Hip Disarticulation Prosthesis?

Simply put, a hip disarticulation prosthesis is an artificial limb used by amputees who had an amputation near the hip joint. Thanks to innovations in design, you can expect to have freedom again due to the increased movement of the prosthesis. Modern advances include foot and knee systems that can be moved with a microprocessor. This enables the prosthesis to move like an actual limb, allowing you to perform activities you did before the amputation. Through our services here at FIT Prosthetics, you can expect to be fitted with a limb prosthesis that lets you maintain your lifestyle.

Get an Evaluation with Us

The first step in getting a hip disarticulation prosthesis is having an evaluation performed by one of our prosthetists. Only a small number of clinical practices are equipped to help fit you with a hip disarticulation prosthesis—and FIT Prosthetics is one of those practices ready to assist with your rehabilitation. Through years of experience, we’re ready and capable of helping with fitting you with your prosthesis.

However, before you contact us, it’s a good idea to prepare any questions you may have about getting fitted for a prosthesis. When you meet with us for your evaluation, we’ll go over a few areas to ensure you receive the right type of custom prosthesis. These include evaluation of your work life, hobbies, medical history, current health, and living environment.

Getting Ready

Getting fitted with a prosthesis can be quite an endeavor. You’ll have to take time to get used to moving with the artificial limb, but through hard work and the right mindset, you’ll be able to move around comfortably.

You may want to prepare for your prosthesis by doing some of your own research. This can include asking our medical team any questions you may have about the prosthesis. You also will want to consider meeting with another amputee who has been fitted with a hip disarticulation prosthesis.

When you do meet with our team, we’ll go over any activities you want to continue performing. Any prosthesis is limited by how well it can perform daily living activities. Our team will work with your daily life to ensure you can still perform these activities. That’s why it’s a good idea to write a list of activities you used to perform, including any sports or hobbies you had.

Start Moving!

After receiving your hip disarticulation prosthesis, you’re ready to resume your daily life. Following research and preparation, it’s time to start practicing and moving around. It may be difficult at first, but with the right rehabilitation process, you’ll be able to resume activities you thought you would have to give up.

Our office is proud to offer continuous support once you’ve received your prosthesis. Whether it’s getting used to resuming daily activities or considering advanced options for your limb system, we can help. Our prosthetists are happy to work with you to make sure you are prepared to perform activities such as a sport or a leisure hobby that requires custom components.

Common Problems with Your Prosthetic Device

Even with rehabilitation, using a prosthetic leg can prove somewhat difficult. A common issue many amputees must deal with is sweating, which can cause skin irritation. You might also suffer from the pain of a phantom limb. The good news is that there are common ways to deal with these problems.

The first is to practice good hygiene to keep the site clean. Also, don’t skip out on physical therapy. Even if you don’t think you need it, physical therapy can help ease the transition to the artificial limb. This includes building regular exercise habits that can help you with your prosthesis.

Finally, keep in contact with your prosthetist. Communication is vital to ensure we can help deal with any potential problems. While you may be inclined to do everything by yourself, remember that our experienced team can help.

Why You Should Choose FIT Prosthetics

When you choose FIT Prosthetics for your hip disarticulation prosthesis, you’re in good hands. We’re ready to get you moving again right from the very first assessment. Our service includes helping you choose the right limb system and getting you on the road to resuming daily activities. We know modern technology can get complicated, which is why we’ll help you make an informed decision. Our team of consultants and clinicians will also support your rehabilitation process. If you require a hip disarticulation prosthesis, contact us today.

COLLEGE PARK ACCENT & FREEDOM RUNWAY

 

The Accent provides 2″ (5 cm) of heel height adjustment through a simple push of a button. The foot comes with a contoured, soft shin fairing that locks into the shell and prevents cosmetic buckling when the foot is adjusted at various heel heights. The Accent provides a service-free option for individuals who desire a cosmetically appealing foot.

 

Amputees greatly value the versatility offered by the Runway adjustable heel height prosthetic foot. Its anatomical gliding ankle maintains appropriate foot alignment to provide knee stability and consistent performance at all heel heights. Users can adjust from a flat heel for sandals or walking barefoot at home, up to a 2 inch heel for dress shoes and even cowboy boots.

 

USER REVIEW

The Runway and the Accent are two great feet for users that change their shoes often. Especially for those that want to wear high heels or cowboy boots. Each foot has a button on the ankle that adjusts the heel height. This way you can go from a flat shoe to a high heel without changing feet or seeing the prosthetist. They each have a split toe design to allow for sandals and all shoe designs. Click the links in the paragraphs above to compare the two and see which might suit your needs!

 

Dynamic Stretching after Amputation

 

.In this video we are discussing some dynamic stretches to do at home after amputation. Targeting our hip, back, and glute sections. Please consult your physician before you engage in any at home exercises. If you have any questions or video topic suggestions, send them to ALECM@FITPROSTHETICS.COM.