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Prosthetic Legs: What Every Lower Limb Amputee Should Know

If you are an amputee, you may have asked yourself whether a prosthetic limb may be suitable for you. There are some benefits and drawbacks that come with a prosthetic. Continue reading to learn more information that lower limb amputees should know.

Prosthetics Aren’t for Everyone

Many people find prosthetic legs to be life changing. However, not everyone who has lost a lower limb can benefit from a prosthetic. If you are thinking of getting a prosthetic leg, it is important to talk to your doctor about the issues that come with using a prosthetic.

To use a prosthetic limb, you will need a certain amount of soft tissue to cushion your bone. You will also need to discuss the amount of pain you experience. The limb’s skin condition also plays a role in whether you can use a prosthesis. There is also the question of the health of your other leg.

You will need to discuss with your doctor how active you were before the amputation, as well as what mobility goals you have. If your amputation is below the knee, it is easier to use a prosthesis in comparison to an amputation above the knee. An intact knee joint means more mobility and less effort when walking compared to a missing knee joint.

The reason for the amputation can also be a factor because it is a component in figuring out if the residual limb is healthy. Your lifestyle choices and physical health are also things to discuss with your doctor. A sedentary person who lost their leg to diabetes will have a harder time with a prosthesis than an active individual who lost their leg in a car accident.

Your doctor can give you some perspective and help you decide if a prosthesis is right for you. Each person’s situation is different, but your doctor has more insight through working with other patients.

To find a prosthetic leg that fits you right, you will have to communicate with your prosthetist who can help you decide what components are right for you. It is important to choose a prosthetist you feel comfortable with. You may end up cultivating a lifelong relationship with your prosthetist as your needs will continue to change over the years.

Getting the Right Fit for Your Prosthetic

Now that your doctor has prescribed a prosthetic leg, your journey begins. It may feel overwhelming to start the process because you are new to it. Finding out how the prosthetic leg works is a good way to start.

Prosthetic legs are made of materials that are meant to last, are durable, and lightweight—typically, plastic is a commonly used material. The place where you were amputated determines if the leg has ankle joints or a knee that functions. Your residual limb fits snugly in the socket of the prosthesis because the socket is a mold of your residual limb.

The prosthesis attaches to the body with the suspension system. Vacuum suction, sleeve suction, and distal locking are different options for the suspension system. To find out which is the best option for you, it is important to work with your prosthetist.

Rehabilitation Plays a Big Role

Once you have made your choice regarding your prosthesis, you must go to a rehabilitation center.

During rehabilitation, you’ll be learning how to walk again. You will also be building up the strength in your arms, legs, and heart. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and doctors will help you create a custom plan, so you can work toward your mobility goals. Mainly, you want to keep your other leg healthy. Using a prosthetic limb can help make that possible.

Having a team of healthcare professionals support you during the recovery process of losing a limb is very important. These professionals are going to come together to build a plan that is beneficial for you.

It’s Hard to Use a Prosthetic Leg

Using a prosthetic leg can be challenging. Even after you have finished rehabilitation, you may come across some issues.

A common issue that may come up is excessive sweating. Not only can it impact the way the prosthesis fits, but it can cause skin issues. Another issue is the changing shape of the residual limb. The residual limb will change shape throughout the first year after you have an amputation. This change can affect the way the socket fits. If your residual limb is weak, it may take a while before you can use your prosthesis for an extended period.

If you suffer from phantom limb pain, it may affect your use of a prosthetic leg. Mirror therapy is one tool used to help with phantom limb pain. When you exercise in the mirror, you can trick your brain into thinking your amputated leg is still there, which lessens or stops the pain.

If you have neuroma or sciatica, your phantom pain could be stemming from this. Once you figure out what is triggering your phantom pain, you may be able to eliminate it.

Your Needs Will Continue to Change

While your residual limb is stabilizing, you will be using a temporary prosthesis. The temporary prosthesis is only meant to be used for a few months. After that, you’ll transition to another prosthesis that lasts between three and five years.

If you have used your prosthesis in a way that it was not designed for, this can cause pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, you may need to have your prosthetist evaluate the prosthesis and address your needs.

The prosthetist may try to adjust or replace parts of the prosthetic limb. You will also get a prescription from your doctor for another prosthetic leg. Make sure to set aside time to learn how any new components work. Physical therapy is important in working with new components.

Year after year, prosthetic technology is continuing to develop. For example, microprocessor joints have sensors that allow a person using them to walk more naturally. The joints will also adjust based on the kind of surface you are walking on, including stairs.

You can also use a prosthetic leg for activities and sports you like to engage in. They have prostheses for swimming and running. Your everyday leg can also be modified by your prosthetist for use in a variety of different situations.

If you don’t want to use a socket, you can have osseointegration surgery. The surgery involves putting a metal implant in the bone of the residual limb. After this surgery, the leg can connect with the implant. There are still a lot of studies around this metal implant. However, it does improve your sensory function and range of motion.

Making a Decision

When deciding what is best for you, a team of medical specialists can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the best choice for your lifestyle. It will be up to you to figure out if prostheses are right for you. You will have to consult with a prosthetist on the right prosthesis for your lifestyle.

 

FITProsthetics offers clients cutting-edge prosthetic technology. Contact us today to learn more about the prostheses we offer. Once we have built you a prosthesis, we help you along the way through rehabilitation as well. Our goal is to serve you in all aspects of the process.

Phantom Pain

What is Phantom Limb Pain?

Phantom Limb Pain or PLP is one of the more strange/frustrating things we have to deal with as amputees. I remember waking up after amputation and feeling so frustrated with the pain I still felt in the calf I had just departed from. The feeling was intense and to this day can still catch me off guard at the right times. Over time, as I learned more about my body and how it would respond to different triggers, I have been able to get more control over my PLP. But that is not to say I don’t have it at all… at the time of writing this I’m running on two hours of sleep. Battling electric spikes and nails in my toes all night is nothing new, especially in the spring and fall when the weather is making its drastic changes.

I have had Doctors explain PLP as your brain searching for your missing limb. It is likely a result of mixed signals coming from our brain or spinal chord. Phantom Pain is hard to quantify. Two amputees could be talking about their PLP, and to them it feels like they’re talking about the same thing. But in reality they are feeling very different things. It’s just hard to really know. We do know that there can be a number of different triggers for PLP.

Some of these triggers can include: Touch, Urination/Defecation, Sexual Intercourse, Nicotine, Changes in Barometric Pressure, and Exposure to Cold. To name a few… I know for me the changes in pressure is the biggest trigger, and once that starts urination will fire it off for sure (sorry if that is too much info). Learning what triggers your Phantom Limb Pain is the biggest key in treating it, I have learned.

Treating Phantom Limb Pain

Medications for PLP

Establishing a plan with your Doctor is key. In order to get the most effective treatment. There are a number of different medications being used to treat PLP today. These medications are used to specifically interrupt the pain signals in your brain or spinal cord. Some categories of medications you could be prescribed include:

  • Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids (narcotic pain medications)
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Muscle relaxants

Therapies for PLP

Medications may not be the answer for everyone, or may not be the answer on their own. There are a multitude of other therapies that amputees have found beneficial for treating their PLP, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage of the residual limb
  • Use of a shrinker
  • Repositioning of the residual limb by propping on a pillow or cushion
  • Mirror box therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Virtual reality therapy
  • Imagery
  • Music

Phantom Limb Pain + You

I have found that a combination of medication and different therapies works well for me. Especially, a TENS unit on the nights that get really bad.  No two amputees are the same. Therefore, What works for treating my PLP may end up being a trigger for you! The only way to know is to test it. Pay attention when you have spikes in PLP. Note what you may have eaten that day, what the weather was like, or how much physical activity you may have done. All of these things can contribute to your PLP, and also be a solution. Be sure to speak with your Doctor if you’re experiencing Phantom Limb Pain.

For more information, check out the link to the amputee coalition page below:

https://www.amputee-coalition.org/inmotion/jul_aug_13/phantom-pain.pdf

 

Lower Limb Amputation + Prosthetics Info

If you’re a lower limb amputee in the Salt Lake area, you may have questions about the fabrication process, fit and functionality of a custom lower limb prosthesis. FIT Prosthetics specializes in state-of-the-art lower limb prosthetics to help each of our clients get back to active, independent living. 

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about lower limb amputation and prosthetics..

What Are the Different Types of Lower Limb Amputation + Prosthetics?

A lower limb prosthesis is an artificial limb designed to replace the functionality of an amputated leg. Lower limb prosthetics can replace a leg that’s been amputated at the hip, above the knee, below the knee or at the ankle. The type of amputation a patient undergoes determines the type of prosthetic device they need.


Hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation amputations 
remove the entire leg at the pelvis or at the hip joint. Individuals who have undergone hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation amputation have lost three major weight-bearing joints: the hip joint, knee joint and ankle joint. 

As a result, prosthetics for hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation patients are more complex than other leg prosthetics. This means they require specific and meticulous customizations. These prosthetic devices must sit to the front of the hip socket to provide stability when standing. They must also provide adequate weight distribution when the wearer is sitting, as well as movement in the knee and ankle joints to recreate the biomechanical functions of a leg.

Individuals who have undergone amputations at the hip may face considerable challenges in re-learning movement and sitting while wearing their prosthetic device. Customization of the socket and ongoing support from a prosthetic team is a huge part of success with these high-level amputations and prosthetics.

Above-the-knee prosthetics, also known as transfemoral prosthetics, are artificial limbs that replace part of the thigh, as well as the knee, shin, ankle and foot. These prosthetics fit over a patient’s residual limb through a custom socket and feature a prosthetics knee and ankle joint that allow biomechanical movement of the prosthetic leg. Individuals who have undergone transfemoral amputation have typically had some or most of their femur (thighbone) removed, but they still have a residual limb and maintain use of their hip joint.


Below-the-knee prosthetics 
are worn by individuals who have undergone transtibial amputation. These prosthetics replace the leg below the knee joint and consist of a socket, shin tube (pylon), and prosthetic foot. The socket for these prosthetics will be customized to the shape and size of the wearer’s residual limb to ensure a comfortable, stable fit.


Foot prosthetics 
replace any part of a foot that has been removed in amputation. There are many levels of foot amputation, including Chopart, Lisfranc, Transmetatarsal and toe amputations. Depending on a patient’s level of foot amputation, they may receive a partial or full foot prosthesis.

When Should Lower-Limb Amputees Begin the Prosthetic Process?

In addition to its impact on the body, limb loss can have major emotional and psychological effects on a person. As such, it’s important for all amputees to have necessary education, support and resources leading up to their surgery, during recovery, and as they continue to heal.

It’s important for patients awaiting a scheduled amputation to discuss their concerns for healing, pain management and rehabilitation goals with their surgeons. Many patients in the pre-amputation waiting period also opt to seek a pre-amputation evaluation and assessment with a certified prosthetist. Completing an initial evaluation with a prosthetist can help many patients feel more confident and hopeful as their surgery approaches.

Post-amputation healing and rehabilitation allows amputees to work with their care team on regaining range of motion and functional mobility in their residual limb. Wound care, ongoing education and psychological support is vital during this period. This process typically begins about five days after an amputation surgery.

Many patients opt to move forward with pre-prosthetic training as soon as their amputation wound has adequately healed. A temporary prosthesis may be fitted in as little as three weeks after surgery. For patients who opt to wait until their wound has completely healed, the process may take up to six months. 

Pre-prosthetic training prepares a patient’s residual limb for prosthetic fitting. This typically involves strengthening the muscles in the residual limb, core, back and other parts of the body. Pre-prosthetic training also involves shaping the residual limb, managing pain levels, and practicing good skin care to ensure the residual limb is ready for fitting.

During the prosthetic fitting process, a certified prosthetist takes a mold of the residual limb using 3D imagery or plaster materials. 3D imaging provides a quicker, more pleasant casting process and allows the prosthetist to alter the mold for a better stump fit.

Once the temporary prosthesis is complete, patients work with their prosthetics team to adjust the fit, feel, and functionality of their device. This is often a time-consuming process requiring multiple alterations and changes to the prosthetic device. The goal is to create a prosthesis that allows an amputee to achieve comfortable movement in line with their activity goals.

An amputee’s relationship with his or her prosthetist and prosthetic team often lasts years. As a patient’s body, activity levels, and personal goals change, they often need their prosthetics team to make adjustments to their prosthetic socket or materials.

It’s important for every amputee to find an experienced, trustworthy prosthetics team that will make every effort to help them meet their goals after amputation.

Lower Limb Prosthetic Services at FIT Prosthetics

FIT Prosthetics is located in Murray, Utah. But we service all over the state, and neighboring states. Our team is dedicated to helping amputees throughout pre-amputation, prosthetic fitting and fabrication, and ongoing prosthetic management.

We provide lower limb amputees with evaluation, fitting and on-going prosthetic support to help each individual achieve the best fit and functional outcome for their unique situation.


Contact us today to schedule an initial evaluation or to learn more about our services. 

Motion Control Prostheses

What Are Motion Control Prostheses?

Nearly 2 million people in the United States have experienced limb loss. Thankfully, losing a limb does not mean losing your independence, as technological advancements have brought about viable solutions for everyone.

 

Historically, hand amputees wore hook prostheses to control their limbs’ movements. Today, with motion control prosthetics, you can engage in a variety of activities as before, when you lost your arm. Here is everything you need to know about this fantastic advancement.

What Are Motion Control prostheses?

A prosthesis is an artificial body part that can be used to replace a lost limb due to disease, trauma, or congenital disorders. The motion control hand features machine-controlled fingers, multi-flex wrist options, and a wide opening. It offers a blend of functionality and natural appearance.

 

The prosthesis mimics the anatomy and motion of the missing body part by using the nerve impulses and electrical impulses of the residual limb to power the prosthesis. They’re run by highly sophisticated rechargeable batteries, which power the connecting transmitters.

How Does It Work?

Today, there are various consciously controlled prosthetic limbs where patients have control over the sensations, movements, and experiences. The type of prosthesis and the location of the missing limb will determine what type of prosthesis should be used.

 

The process involves connecting the prosthesis onto a bone on the stump of the amputated limb. To create an electrical interface, the specialist will implant electrodes in the nerves and muscles adjacent to the amputated limb with a connector embedded near the end of the screw. Neuromuscular electrodes will connect with sensors in your body, allowing you to control limb movement with your mind.

 

When you engage a specific muscle in your residual limbs, the sensors will detect electrical signals and pass them on to the controller, which will then tell the electric motors to move the implant joints. The limb will move and react as a natural arm does based on the user’s mental and physical stimulus.

 

In contrast, when there is a touch sensation from the prosthetic limb, the control system converts the electrical signals to stimulate the residual limb stump’s nerves. It sends signals to the brain, which interprets the sensation as pressure. You can even alter your existing functional muscles’ intensity to increase your prosthetic limb’s speed, strength, and grip.

Unique Motion Control Hand Features

One key feature of this technology is the ability to auto grasp. The prosthetic limb can automatically adjust tension when it detects changes in circumstances, for instance when picking up an item. The prosthetic limb has a flexible joint for convenient positioning just in case you want to grip things on different surfaces.

 

Additionally, the multi-flex wrist allows you to hold and control objects closer to your body, which is more natural than having to make movements with your shoulders or your entire upper body. The arm can even be rotated in 360-degree circles and stopped at certain points. With an appropriate socket fit, the hand appears to be somewhat resistant, even in the flexible mode.

Advantages of Motion Control Prostheses

Motion control prostheses offer enormous benefits to individuals with arm amputations. It uses lightweight and yet firm enough material so the fingers can last long without breaking—the hand is also very robust and durable. The motion control hand uses durable motor technology that guarantees better response times and lasts up to ten times longer than traditional options.

 

One key advantage is the ability to utilize a varying voltage input that ranges from 6V to 18V. The motor can accommodate varying voltages without compromising performance or accuracy. Additionally, the motion control hand uses a current limit circuit that shuts off the hand after a certain amount of force is reached to preserve the battery.

 

Moreover, the arm uses automatic transmission to respond faster with high pinch forces upon confronting an object. Furthermore, upon disengaging from the item, the transmission automatically shifts to the next gear ratio.

 

A water-tight environment can exist on the hand even when it is dirty or moist due to the O-ring seal. It also comes with a release button so you can let go of the handgrip in case of an emergency. There is ongoing research aimed at improving this area to protect the arm better from environmental extremes.

 

As far as ease of motion is concerned, the motion control prosthesis aids your residual hand in holding certain amounts of weight since you can bend or flex it. With the full range of joint movements, you can perform everyday tasks quickly and with ease because you won’t find it difficult to perform natural arm movements. If you choose a custom-designed option, you will enjoy a comfortable fit that allows for quick attachment and removal.

 

The hand mimics the natural human hand and can change its orientation to multiple positions. It provides strength equivalent to that of a natural arm, and the elbows bend in response to muscle signals so you can reach items high or low.

Motion-controlled prosthetics help patients with missing limbs live better lives since they can handle the tasks ordinarily done by a natural limb. They come in a variety of sizes, so you are sure to find your fit. You can also choose from a variety of skin colors for a natural look.

 

Reach out to us at FIT PROSTHETICS for more information.

Custom Prosthetics in Salt Lake City, UT

FIT Prosthetics in Murray, UT creates custom upper extremity and lower extremity prosthetics. We work with all manufacturers and models, and provide advanced prosthetic fittings to make sure every client has the best-fitting prosthesis possible. We also provide full amputee support, including pre-amputation evaluation and follow-ups on prosthetic fit.

If you’ve experienced the loss of a limb, you know how difficult it can be to regain your confidence, independence and activity levels. One of the most important parts of adjusting to life after amputation is finding a prosthesis that fits well, feels natural and allows you to move the way you want to. If you’re a Utah-area resident in search of a trustworthy, local prosthetics company, FIT Prosthetics is here to help.

Here’s what you should know about our Houston prosthetics clinics, and how we can help you.

Fabrication & Fitting of Upper Limb Prosthetics in Houston

FIT Prosthetics is proud to offer fabrication and fitting for a variety of upper limb prosthetic devices, including hand prostheses, below-the-elbow and above-the-elbow arm prostheses, and finger prostheses. 

Our upper limb prosthetics program offers state-of-the-art capabilities. We provide body-powered prosthetics, ETD from motion control, myoelectric hands, l-digits, I-limb hand, BeBionic prosthetic hands, and Taska Prosthetic hands, to name a few.


Our 
myoelectric upper limb prosthetic devices provide cutting edge technological advantages over other prosthetic devices. Myoelectric prostheses are not driven by the muscle strength of the amputee; instead, they utilize electric power for movement. Muscle tension in the amputee’s residual limb is read by electrodes, providing control signals to the prosthesis’ electronics. This allows for a greater range of grips and more physiologically natural movement.

If you’re an upper limb amputee who is beginning the process of choosing a prosthetic device, FIT Prosthetics will help you find the right make, model and functionality for you. Our highly experienced, licensed prosthetists will evaluate your goals, limitations and expectations. We will then fabricate, fit and provide ongoing support for you so your prosthesis meets or exceeds those expectations.

Fabrication & Fitting of Lower Limb Prosthetics in Houston

Foot and leg prosthetics require a special level of attention, both during the fabrication process and the fitting process. FIT Prosthetics in Murray is dedicated to helping lower limb amputees find prosthetic devices that meet their unique needs, activity levels, and environments. 

We’ve worked with pediatric patients, geriatric patients, and competitive athletes to create dynamic, custom lower limb prosthetics. We’ve designed lower limb prosthetic devices that can support both ADLs and complex activities like bowling, hiking, golf, running and more.

FIT Prosthetics will work with you to achieve a socket fit that is as close to perfect as possible, so you can move confidently with your prosthesis, no matter where you go.

FIT Prosthetics Utilizes 3D Technology in Prosthetic Production

Unlike other prosthetics companies, FIT Prosthetics in Murray utilizes 3D technology to fabricate both upper and lower custom prosthetic limbs.

By using 3D scanners and printers to create prosthetic devices, we can produce the most precise prosthetic socket possible for each patient.

3D technology also improves the patient experience by eliminating lengthy, uncomfortable casting processes that require wet, messy plaster.

Our 3D prosthetic scanning procedure takes only 45 seconds. The technology produces a full-scale replica of a patient’s residual limb. That replica is then uploaded to our industry-leading software program where modifications can be made. This precision allows us to make very specific (and often life-changing) alterations in patients’ sockets to ensure the best possible fit for their prosthetic device.

Are you a Utah/Wyoming/Nevada/Idaho resident searching for a trustworthy, cutting-edge prosthetics company for your prostheses? Contact FIT Prosthetics to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation. 

The Stages of Prosthetic Fitting

Limb amputation presents challenges to getting back to an independent life. A successful prosthetic fitting is vital in this process to help you restore your mobility and get back to the activities you enjoy. Every person’s situation is unique, meaning your prosthetic needs to be custom-designed to fit your body perfectly to help you achieve optimal results.

 

While there are several options for limb prostheses, the fitting process (after evaluation of the treatment result) generally follows the same stages no matter which limb prosthetic you choose. Usually, the stages for fitting the prosthesis involve training sessions and both occupational and physical therapy. With that in mind, here is an overview of the steps of a prosthetic fitting.

Schedule a Meeting with a Prosthetist

Amputees have unique needs, so you will need to schedule a meeting with a certified and experienced prosthetist for assessment. That means if your amputation is planned (and not emergency-related), you may have a physical and medical evaluation along with some education from your care provider. Some of the things you will have to discuss with your doctor may include your short-term and long-term goals, the possibility of phantom pain, and planned pain management. Similarly, you can consult someone or a peer who has undergone amputation and can answer your questions regarding their experience.

Amputation Surgery

Once you outline the goals you intend to accomplish with a prosthetic, your next step is to undergo amputation surgery. Once complete, the care team will work to manage any pain and keep you comfortable at all times. Wound dressing options available to you may include:

 

• Ace bandage wrap

• Removable rigid dressing (RRD), such as immediate postoperative prosthesis (IPOP) or AmpuShield

 

During your hospital stay, you will have to communicate frequently with your care team to ensure your pain is managed effectively. Your hospital stay may be shorter or longer, depending on the nature of your amputation and the time you need to recover.

 

Throughout your hospital stay, the care team will work to promote wound healing by maintaining the range of motion of the amputated limb, offering support and continuous education, and training you on mobility exercises. Following the surgery, you may be released from the hospital after three to 10 days. Subsequently, once you’ve gained your appetite, balance, and strength, you may be released to a rehabilitation center or a skilled nursing facility.

Pre-Prosthetic Training

At this stage, your care providers focus on training and preparing you for the prosthesis. Your team will focus on limb shaping, muscle strengthening, skincare, and pain management. Your residual limb may experience swelling, requiring you to use a compression sock or a shrinker to combat or control the pain. After this, you will collaborate with your physical therapist and care team to avoid muscle tightening (contractures) and gain strength.

 

Typically, pre-prosthetic training will take place at your home, rehab center, or a skilled nursing center, depending on the plan developed by your care providers. The training may include desensitizing your scar tissue and residual limb. Experts recommend various things you can do to achieve this, such as massaging the end of the limb in a circular motion. After this, you may want to meet with your prosthetist for limb evaluation. He or she will assess your limb and ask you several questions about your work, hobbies, and prosthetic goals.

 

Understanding this information will help your prosthetist develop a reasonable prosthetic treatment plan. If necessary, you can stay connected with a peer mentor to guide you and answer your questions.

Prosthetic Prescription and Fabrication

After your wound is fully healed and the swelling has reduced, your caregiver will start the process of creating your socket. Several ways can be used to build a socket, and since sockets are custom-made, your clinician will discuss how to achieve the best fit. Initially, you will be fitted with a clear diagnostic. The socket’s primary purpose is to enable your prosthetist to make modifications and adjustments before your final or definitive prosthesis is built.

Prosthesis Delivery

Prosthesis delivery is the last stage of your prosthetic fitting process. Once you receive your final prosthesis, your clinician or physician will give you a wearing schedule/plan to help you get accustomed to wearing your prosthetic. After this, you will continue with your occupational therapy if you’re an upper-extremity amputee or physical therapy if you’re a lower-extremity amputee. Therapy will provide you with additional training with your finished prosthesis.

 

During the first year of your prosthetic procedure, you will have occasional appointments with your clinician for adjustments and modifications. With time, you will get used to wearing a prosthetic, and adapting it to your everyday life will become routine. However, that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy at first. It may be challenging at times, but with commitment, dedication, and hard work, the integration will become seamless.

 

If you’re a first-time prosthetic wearer, you will receive additional support to make you as comfortable as possible. After prosthesis delivery, your prosthetist will schedule follow-up visits for one to two weeks. These appointments will allow for continuous assessment to ensure that your new prosthesis fits and functions appropriately.

At FIT Prosthetics, we pride ourselves on guiding you through the complexity of modern technology so you can find the best prosthetic option for you. We aim to provide a complete and seamless service that supports your rehabilitation every step of the way. If you are looking to learn more about our services and mobility solutions, please contact us to schedule your consultation.

 

Resources:

 

Important Steps for a Successful Prosthetic Process

 

http://poaprosthetics.com/pdf/What_to_Expect_with_Your_Prosthetic_Care.pdf

How Does Your Residual Limb Change After Amputation?

After an amputation, you may notice changes in your residual limb. It’s important to be familiar with the most common residual limb changes, and how you can address your concerns with your doctor and your prosthetist.

After your amputation surgery, you may experience discomfort, challenges with dressing and cleaning your wound, and disorientation with the way your stump feels. These are all normal challenges, and most patients are able to adjust fairly quickly.
There are also natural changes to residual limbs that may surprise or upset many recent amputees. Most of the time, these changes are completely normal. Sometimes, they are cause for concern.
Here are the most common changes in residual limbs after amputation, and how you can address them. 

Changes in Stump Shape and Volume

In the first 12-18 months after amputation, your residual limb will undergo a number of changes in size and shape. Residual limb volume, in particular, changes a lot as you heal from your amputation.

Some studies show that residual limbs can decrease in volume by anywhere from 17% to 35% in the first few months after amputation surgery. These size fluctuations can make rehabilitation and prosthetic socket fitting challenging, especially if an amputee is also exercising less without altering his diet. 

Many changes in the volume of your residual limb are natural side effects of limb loss.

Stump shrinkage, for instance, happens as postoperative muscle atrophy sets in. This occurs because you are using your residual limb far less than you used your full limb before surgery. Shrinkage should stabilize almost completely within 6-8 months after amputation.


Another source size fluctuation is a residual limb is 
post-operative edema. Edema is swelling that results from excess fluid in the residual limb’s soft tissues. It is important for new amputees to control edema by using compression or shrinker socks for the first 12-18 months after amputation. Individuals using compression or shrinker socks should remove them several times a day to check for skin breakdown and wounds.

It is also important to establish a post-amputation exercise routine to control weight gain. Many amputees naturally move less after surgery, due to pain from healing, new mobility issues and psychological adjustments. However, weight gain impacts the size of your residual limb the same way it does the rest of your body. This can cause fit issues with your prosthetic socket and can lead to irritation, skin breakdown and setbacks in your post-amputation rehabilitation.

Talk to your physical therapist or rehabilitation team for ideas on maintaining an adequate activity level to prevent weight gain after your surgery.

Skin Problems

Many amputees experience skin problems, wounds and infections after surgery. This is especially true if the patient has diabetes, vascular disease or other illnesses that cause slower wound healing.

For diabetics, good post-amputation wound care is imperative. If you have diabetes, it is vital to check your stump several times a day for sores, wounds or other signs of infection.

While compression or shrinker socks are important to aid in stump size adjustment, they can also cause sores, blisters or skin breakdown if they aren’t continually monitored. Untreated stump wounds can lead to serious infection and may require hospitalization.

After your amputation, it is vital to carefully clean your surgical wound multiple times per day using a mild soap and clean water. Pat your wound dry using a gentle cloth. Avoid soaking your stump, as it can lead to skin breakdown.

Check your stump daily for signs of rubbing, irritation, blisters, redness or sores. If you develop any of these skin problems after your amputation, you should visit your doctor immediately. You may need a different limb sock or a different socket fitting to alleviate these problems.

Muscle Contractures

Muscle contracture is the semi-permanent or permanent limitation of movement in the soft tissues. It is caused by shortening or stiffening of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin that is in close proximity to your residual limb. Above-the-knee amputees can experience hip flexion contracture, while below-the-knee amputees can experience knee flexion contracture. Muscle contracture in an amputee poses many challenges, including painful rehabilitation, slowed rehabilitation and issues wearing and using a prosthetic device.

Post-amputation contracture is typically caused by extended immobility of the residual limb and surrounding soft tissues and structures. Many amputees have suffered from mobility problems for a long time before amputation, so they may not know how important it is to exercise, stretch and maintain movement in their residual limbs.


It’s important not to lie in bed for long periods of time following amputation.

Transtibial amputees should avoid lying with the residual limb hanging over the edge of a bed or with the knees flexed. They should also avoid lying with a pillow under the knees. Transfemoral amputees should avoid lying with pillows under the thigh. For all amputees, regular stretching and exercising of the muscles near the residual limb is imperative to help avoid post-amputation contractures.

If you aren’t sure about exercises and activities that can help you, talk to your physical therapist or rehabilitation team. They will have creative exercises that are comfortable on your body but provide you with the activity you need to avoid issues with your muscles, tendons and ligaments after your amputation.

Amputation Support at FIT Prosthetics in Salt Lake

As you adjust to life after limb loss, it’s important to have resources available to help you navigate the changes, challenges and questions you’ll face along the way.

FIT Prosthetics offers a full range of support resources for amputees, including pre-amputation evaluation, custom and ongoing prosthetic fittings, delivery and more.

Contact us today to learn more!

Socket Fit With Your Limb Prosthesis

It’s important for all prosthetic devices to provide a good “socket fit” for the wearer. Without a good socket fit, a prosthesis can be uncomfortable and cause issues like skin breakdown, sores and even ulcers. A poorly fitting socket can also slow down or stall an amputee’s rehabilitation and may contribute to falls and balance issues for lower limb amputees.

Here’s what you should know about the importance of a good “socket fit” of your prosthesis.

What Does “Socket Fit” Mean?

The socket is the primary interface between a residual limb (stump) and a prosthetic device. The socket wraps the end point of the residual limb and forms a suction between the residual limb and the prosthesis. Most sockets are made of polypropylene and have a socket liner that helps facilitate a comfortable fit between the stump and the prosthesis. 

Socket fit is the most important part of a prosthetic device, especially for lower limb amputees, because it helps distribute the wearer’s weight and allow fluid, comfortable movement.

For upper limb amputees, the socket fit connects the prosthesis to the other parts of the arm, like a wrist joint or elbow joint.

A socket is custom made to fit the contours and dimensions of each unique residual limb, to achieve an optimal fit.


A poorly fitting socket can cause serious issues with prosthetic feet, prosthetic legs, prosthetic arms and prosthetic hands. Poor fit can cause sores, ulcers, injury, balance issues and general discomfort. Poor fit can also cause setbacks in an amputee’s rehabilitation process.

How Do You Get A Good Fit With Your Prosthetic Socket?

The most important part of getting a good socket fit with your prosthesis is to communicate honestly with your prosthetist throughout the prosthetic fitting process.


Before your final socket is made, 
your prosthetist can make a test socket to ensure that the fit and function of your socket is ideal. The test socket is made from a clear material so your prosthetist can observe any issues with the fit of the socket. Rubbing, redness, discomfort and blisters can be adjusted before the final socket is created. 

Another important part of achieving good socket fit is to carefully observe any changes in the shape or size of your residual limb.

The body is ever changing, especially if diet and exercise change. Because a residual limb is part of the body, it is vulnerable to these changes, too. This can cause the socket fit of a prosthesis to change.

Minimizing changes in weight are an important part of maintaining a good socket fit with your prosthesis. You should also regularly check your stump for changes in skin texture and appearance, and pay close attention to how your prosthesis feels during wear. Changes in wear can signal a worsening socket fit.

It’s also important to pay attention to the way your prosthesis fits throughout all activity levels. If your prosthesis doesn’t feel comfortable and natural when you’re very active, your prosthetist needs to readjust your fit.

Achieving A Good Socket Fit With FIT Prosthetics

Becoming an amputee can bring challenges and setbacks. However, it’s important to work closely with your amputee rehabilitation and prosthetic team to make those challenges easier to weather.

 

FIT Prosthetics in Salt Lake is proud to offer a full range of resources and support for amputees, including pre-amputation evaluation to advanced prosthetic fittings, follow ups and more. 

Contact FIT Prosthetics today to learn more. 

Lower Limb Amputation + Diabetes

 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts multiple organ systems, including the renal system, peripheral nervous system and vascular system. Over time, complications from diabetes can lead to leg, ankle and foot problems that place diabetics at a higher risk of needing a lower limb amputation.

According to the American Journal of Managed Care, approximately 200,000 non-traumatic amputations occur in the United States each year1.

In a study from 2008, vascular disease, including diabetes and PAD, was the cause of amputation in 54% of Americans living with limb loss in the United States2.

In the majority of cases, a diabetic foot ulcer is the initial event that leads to lower limb amputation in people with diabetes3.

If you’re a diabetic who is at risk of lower limb amputation, here’s what you should know.

How Does Diabetes Increase the Risk of Lower Limb Amputation?

Diabetes can cause serious complications with the peripheral nervous system and vascular system.

Chronic high blood sugar can cause fats and other substances to build up on the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to narrow. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.


Over time, atherosclerosis 
can progress to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a condition that causes poor circulation in the extremities, especially the legs and feet. 

PAD that isn’t carefully managed can cause extremely slow healing in the feet and legs. Over time, blood flow may become so compromised that even small wounds on the legs, ankles and feet don’t heal at all. 


Diabetics are also at high risk of developing 
nerve damage in the extremities. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy, and it can cause numbness, tingling and loss of sensation in the legs and feet.

What is the Most Common Cause of Lower Limb Amputation Among Diabetics?

The most common cause of lower limb amputations in diabetics is lower limb ulcers, particularly foot ulcers.

Non-healing wounds on diabetics can begin as small nicks, scrapes or cuts, typically on the feet or lower legs.  Poor circulation caused by PAD impedes the healing process in the lower limbs because the blood vessels cannot effectively deliver nutrients to the damaged tissue. Open wounds that aren’t healing properly can easily become infected, causing potentially life-threatening side effects.

An infected ulcer on the foot or lower leg can cause infection in surrounding tissues and can spread to the bones. Oftentimes, the only way to treat the infection is to amputate the affected area.

Can Other Complications of Diabetes Lead to Lower Limb Amputation?

Peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage in the extremities, is a common side effect of diabetes. In fact, up to 50% of diabetics may experience some form of diabetic neuropathy. Like PAD, peripheral neuropathy increases a diabetic’s risk of amputation. 

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can range from numbness and tingling in the lower limbs to issues with the blood vessels, digestive tract and urinary tract.

Nerve damage caused by PN makes it difficult for diabetic people to know when they have sustained an injury on the lower limbs, especially injuries that aren’t easy to see. Cuts and nicks on the bottoms of the feet, backs of the ankles and other hard-to-see areas may not produce a strong pain response, so they often go unnoticed until they have developed into open sores (diabetic ulcers).

When peripheral neuropathy is accompanied by poor circulation or PAD, wounds on the legs and feet won’t heal normally. Over time, they may become infected or gangrenous. Many times, the only option for removing the infection of gangrene is to amputate the lower leg, foot or toe.

How Can Diabetics Lower Their Risk of Lower Limb Amputation?

It is vital for all diabetics to follow their doctors’ recommendations for managing their diabetes and its side effects.

The most important way to prevent complications of diabetes is control blood sugar levels through medication, diet and monitoring your blood sugar daily.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may also recommend that you make adjustments to your lifestyle, like altering your exercise regimen, quitting smoking and drinking less.

It is extremely important for diabetics with PAD and nerve damage to check their feet, ankles and lower legs daily. This includes paying special attention to the bottoms of the feet, between the toes, the backs of the ankles and the backs of the legs for any cuts or sores that are forming.


If you get a cut or nick on your leg or foot, you should carefully follow protocols for 
diabetic wound care given to you by your doctor. 

Advice for Diabetics Facing Lower Limb Amputation

If you’re facing a lower limb amputation due to diabetes, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges and changes ahead.

Recovery and rehabilitation following a lower limb amputation is important for all patients, especially those with co-existing diseases that require management. For diabetics, it’s important to practice careful wound care following an amputation, as vascular issues may contribute to slow healing. As you recover from your amputation, it’s important to

It’s also vital for lower limbs amputees to find a trusted prosthetic partner that can provide resources and support throughout the amputation process.

If you’re a diabetic facing lower limb amputation in Salt Lake, Ogden, Provo or anywhere in Utah, FIT Prosthetics offers a complete range of amputee support. This includes pre-amputation evaluation and advanced fitting for your prosthetic device.

Contact our team today to learn more about our support and services for lower limb amputees. 

Sources:

  1. “Diabetic Amputations May Be Rising in the United States | AJMC.” 13 Dec. 2018, https://www.ajmc.com/view/diabetic-amputations-may-be-rising-in-the-united-states.
  2. “Estimating the prevalence of limb loss in the United … – PubMed.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18295618/. 
  3. “Evidence-based management of PAD & the diabetic foot.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23540807/

What To Expect After Amputation?

FITPROSTHETICS is dedicated to helping our clients regain their independence, mobility and quality of life following an amputation. Part of this dedication is providing pre-amputation evaluation to clients who need it.

If you’re preparing for an amputation, our team can help you navigate the many questions you may have. One of the most common questions our clients have before their surgery is, What Should I Expect After My Limb Amputation?
During our pre-amputation evaluation, we provide our clients with the information they need to feel empowered and educated throughout the process. 
Here are a few important tips on what to expect following your amputation surgery.

Expect Some Changes to Your Residual Limb

Many amputees are concerned about the fit and comfort of their prosthetic limb as they heal and rehabilitate after amputation surgery. This is because changes can occur in a residual limb after amputation that may make successful use of prosthetics challenging, especially if these changes aren’t expected or correctly managed.

After your surgery, you should expect some swelling and soreness in your residual limb. You should also expect your stump to change shape significantly as you heal. As swelling subsides, your limb will decrease in volume and may visibly change shape.

To enjoy a successful prosthetic fitting, it’s important for many patients to shrink their residual limb using a shrinker sock or compression sock. This can help manage stump changes that make prosthetic wear more challenging. It’s also important for patients to manage post-amputation weight gain.

Expect Changes in Limb Sensation

Many amputees experience changes in sensation in their residual limb. Some experience a sensation of burning, throbbing, or squeezing. Others report a sensation of involuntary movement, numbness or itching. Residual limb pain can occur in up to 50% of individuals who have undergone an amputation. Physical touch, such as massage or regular tapping, can help desensitize the residual limb area and prepare the skin and muscles for a good prosthetic fit. 

Phantom pain, or the feeling of pain in the limb that was amputated, is also common in amputees. It is caused by signals in the brain and spinal cord adjusting to the new lack of signals from a previously healthy limb. Typically, phantom pain improves over time, but it’s important to seek input from your doctor if it doesn’t. Similarly, residual limb pain that doesn’t improve or which affects your ability to function normally should be reported to your doctor.

Expect Changes in the Fit of Your Prosthesis

As you heal from your amputation surgery, the muscles in your residual limb will naturally change shape as you use them less.

Typically, these changes stabilize within 6 to 8 months after amputation surgery. Some amputees may heal more quickly, while others may take longer.

Once your stump’s shape and size has stabilized, you can begin the process of being fitted for a custom prosthetic device. This process typically takes several appointments with your prosthetic team due to adjustments in your level of rehabilitation, as well as issues with the fit, comfort or usability of your prosthetic device.

Many amputees are disheartened when they don’t accomplish a perfect prosthetic fit immediately. It’s important to know that finding a good socket fit and adjusting to wearing your prosthesis can take several weeks. Typically, amputees need around four sessions with their prosthetic team to find the fit and functionality that works for them.

You should never suffer through a poor socket fit, discomfort or pain when using a prosthesis. Talk to your rehabilitation team and prosthetic provider to make any necessary adjustments to your prosthesis.

The Importance of a Great Prosthetic Team

As you recover from your amputation, it’s important to have trusted, reliable resources available to you.

One of the most important resources during this time is your prosthetic team. If you’re facing an amputation in the near future, it’s not too early to find a prosthetic company you trust. Reach out, visit the clinic, and connect with the team members. Doing so can help alleviate your fears and provide peace of mind during your journey from amputation to prosthesis use.

FIT PROSTHETICS offers a full range of services to our clients, including  pre-amputation evaluation, advanced prosthetic fitting and ongoing support.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you!