Category Archives: Blog

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!

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.

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.

Below the Knee Prosthetics – What You Need to Know

We’ve come a long way medically, especially in the area of prosthetics. Amputees have more mobility and more options than ever before. If you are looking into purchasing a below-the-knee prosthesis, it can seem overwhelming at first. The team at FITProsthetics is here to help.

Here are some answers to common below-the-knee prosthesis questions to help you get accustomed to your new normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need a Prosthesis?

You do not necessarily need a prosthesis. Some people find it challenging to work with one, and others find having a prosthesis unnecessary. However, it can become a handy tool, especially for active people, and most people opt to move forward with a prosthesis.

What Is the Process of Getting a Prosthesis?

1. Allow your amputation to heal: An amputation requires extensive recovery, and this will take time. To best expedite the process, you should follow your doctor’s orders on caring for your injury. Maintenance consists of keeping the area clean and changing bandages when necessary.

2. Go for several fittings: Fitting a prosthesis requires a lot of detail. The measurements are exact, and your prosthesis will be custom-made. It will take several fittings with your prosthetist to get everything right for you.

3. Get your prosthesis made: When your prosthetist gets the right measurements, many companies will send the information to an outsourced fabrication company that will make the prosthesis. However, FIT Prosthetics provide in-house fabrication of the prosthesis ensuring a high quality, custom fit for every client. The most common materials used to make prostheses are acrylic resin, silicone, and aluminum.

4. Physical therapy: To adjust to using your prosthesis, your doctor will advise you to go to physical therapy. Physical therapy will teach you to walk and get through daily life with your new prosthesis, which can be quite challenging. Some common challenges people experience when trying a new prosthesis include pain, excessive sweating, and improper fit. With time, all necessary corrections will be made, and you will learn to walk with ease.

What Are the Different Components of a Prosthesis Leg?

There are three components of the prosthesis, including the prosthesis itself, the socket, and the suspension. A prosthetic leg is made from lightweight materials and may contain ankle joints. The socket is the molding that fits over your residual limb and attaches the prosthesis to your leg. Once snugly placed, the suspension system is what keeps the leg attached to the body. The suspension system will use a sleeve suction, vacuum suction, or distal locking method.

What Is a K Level?

K level rates your likelihood to use your new prosthetic limb successfully on a scale from 0–4, and your doctor determines the rating. Your insurance company will use it in part to assess what they will and will not cover. The K level can change after physical therapy and time. The different K levels are as follows:

●      K0 Level: The patient cannot utilize a prosthesis, so it will not improve their quality of life.

●      K1 Level: The patient can utilize the prosthesis on even surfaces when walking at a steady pace.

●      K2 Level: The patient can utilize the prosthesis when they encounter low obstacles, such as curbs and stairs.

●      K3 Level: The patient can utilize the prosthesis in almost all environments and conditions.

●      K4 Level: The patient can utilize the prosthesis to the point that it exceeds conventional mobility abilities.

Is My Prosthesis Covered by Insurance?

Coverage for your prosthetic leg depends on numerous variables including your injury, your insurance plan, and your specific goals. Since each situation is unique, it’s essential to talk to your insurance agent in detail about what is and is not covered. Relay this information word-for-word to your doctors so that they can help you focus on what is covered.

How Do I Care for My Prosthesis?

Your prosthesis needs regular maintenance, just like many other parts of your body. You need to clean your prosthetic limb every day without using chemicals. You need to fully dry it before using it again, so it’s best to clean your prosthesis right before bed. Also, make sure always to wear the same heel height when using the prosthesis, as it was designed explicitly with those measurements.

What Do I Do if Something Happens to My Prosthetic Leg?

Like anything else, your prosthetic leg can experience failure. When this happens, you want to be prepared with a bag filled with tools you may need to switch back to walking without the prosthesis.

Next, you need to immediately call your prosthetist and explain the problem to see what steps to take next. Depending on the issue, you may need to send the prosthesis out for repair or even get a replacement. However, some problems only require a quick fix from your doctor.

 FIT Prosthetics

Getting a prosthesis can be scary and life-changing, but it will show you that life does go on after a serious accident. However, it takes hard work, patience, and a little bit of pain. We at InMotion Prosthetics are here to help make the transition as effective as possible with high-quality products and world-class staff.

 

Call or email us at FIT Prosthetics today to learn more! We can answer any questions you have about prosthetics and advise you more on the process of getting one.

Microprocessor Technology in Lower Limb Prosthetics

Microprocessor technology is one of the most important advancements in prosthetic science. In recent years, microprocessor technology has revolutionized prosthetics for lower limb loss amputees, providing better stability, more natural movement and better functional outcomes for wearers.

Below, we compare mechanical and microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints, and explore some of the best microprocessor knee joints on the market.

Mechanical + Microprocessor Prosthetic Knee Joints

Until recent years, transfemoral amputees relied on mechanical prosthetic knee joints in their lower limb prosthetic systems.


Mechanical knees can be broken down into 
single-axis and multi axis knee joints.

Single-axis prosthetic knees are simple hinges that require the wearer to use their own body weight to control stability during the stance phase. Single-axis knees typically incorporate constant friction and do not adjust to the wearer’s gait cycle or speed. This can limit the activity level of amputees who choose single axis prosthetics. For instance, it may be difficult for amputees with these prosthetics to easily walk on outdoor terrain. Additionally, most single-axis knee joints feature a manual locking system, which can create an awkward gait and may increase the risk of stumbling during walking.

Multi-axis prosthetic knees provide more functionality during movement, often incorporating hydraulic swing control to adjust to the wearer’s gait during the stance and swing phases. Many multi-axis prosthetic knees have a hydraulic or fluid resistance swing control, allowing for more walking speeds. However, because they have more components, these prosthetics are heavier and require more maintenance.

Microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints (MPKs) contain micro processing units within the knee itself. These units provide real-time adjustment to the knee’s behaviors, based on the numerous moment-by-moment needs of the wearer. MPKs automatically adjust tension or flexion within the knee in response to a variety of factors, including weight-bearing load, velocity and position of the knee. 

These features help create a more natural gait cycle. They also closely mimic the mechanical functions of an anatomical knee, reducing the physical strain on the amputee’s body during use.

Different Types of Microprocessor-Controlled Knees (MPKs)

Ottobock C-Leg®, which debuted in 1997, was the first prosthetic knee joint that was controlled by microprocessor technology. The C-Leg® remains one of the most reliable MPKs on the market, with advanced technologies and greater functionality than other models.


Ottobock also produces the Genium X3, the world’s 
most technologically advanced microprocessor prosthetic leg. The Genium X3 is the result of collaboration between Ottobock and the United States military for the Military Amputee Research Program. It is designed for high levels of physical activity. The X3 is waterproof, allowing for activities like swimming, boating and working in wet conditions. The X3 includes additional advanced technology, like a gyroscope and accelerometer, to further improve the wearer’s natural gait.


The RHEO KNEE® from Össur is an advanced microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee for people who have undergone transfemoral amputation. This MPK is waterproof, and provides technological advances that make controlling the knee easier than ever.

Should You Choose a Microprocessor Prosthetic Knee?

If you’re a transfemoral amputee, you may wonder if an MPK is the right choice for your prosthetic device.

Many elderly or homebound individuals who have lower activity levels don’t require the high level of functionality offered by an MPK. Similarly, a younger person who enjoys sports or high levels of physical activity may not be satisfied with a traditional mechanical prosthetic knee.

Before prosthetic fitting, every amputee should discuss his or her activity levels, physical fitness levels and goals for their prosthetic device with their doctor and prosthetic team. Together with your healthcare and prosthetic team, you can decide which lower limb prosthetic device best meets your needs and expectations.

If you’re a lower limb amputee in Salt Lake and surrounding areas, FITProsthetics can help you throughout the process of choosing, fitting and adapting to a new prosthesis.


Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a prosthetist.

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.