Tips For Enhancing Your Success as a User of a Lower-Limb Prosthesis

Web Development inMotion

Volume 21, Issue 1 January/February 2011
by John Peter Seaman, CP, CTP
Even for the most experienced wearers of lower-limb prostheses, using a prosthesis can result in daily inconveniences, if not worse. So what can recent amputees do to enhance their experience after being fitted with a prosthesis? First, accept that successful prosthesis use involves a 50/50 effort between the amputee and his or her prosthetist. Second, amputees need to understand that their prosthetist, in most cases, is not a miracle worker. In simplest terms, the prosthetist’s role is to assess the amputee’s physical potential, select appropriate prosthetic componentry, and provide a tool, in the form of a prosthesis, for the amputee to use to achieve his or her desired ADLs (activities of daily living). Once this is accomplished, it is up to the amputee to do the many things necessary to maximize the benefits offered by a comfortably fitting and properly functioning prosthesis.

The Importance of Gait Training

Web Development inMotion

Volume 21, Issue 1 January/February 2011
by Scott Cummings, PT, CPO, FAAOP
It is the goal of most every lower-limb amputee to walk “normally” again. In the context of this article, “normal” is defined as a symmetrical gait pattern that falls within the “average” range in terms of posture, step length, rate of speed, limb positioning, etc. But being a lower-limb amputee resents many different challenges when it comes to ambulating safely and without exerting excessive energy.

An Overview of Crutches

Web Development inMotion

Volume 20 · Issue 2 · March/April 2010
by Madeleine Anderson
Everyone who has been confronted with a lower-extremity amputation has had to make decisions regarding mobility options. Many amputees opt for a prosthesis as their primary mode, wearing it (or them) full-time. Some prefer wearing their prosthesis part-time or for specific activities. In either scenario, the “must-have” equipment, the most important aid that a single-leg amputee could ever invest in, is a pair of appropriate crutches.

Choosing the Right Shoe

Web Development inMotion

Volume 20 · Issue 2 ·March/April 2010
by Séamus Kennedy, BEng (Mech), CPed
Choosing the right shoe; what could be easier? Often, the decision depends more on your mood or your wallet than anything else. For amputees or people with complications from vascular disease, life is not so simple. Selecting the proper footwear may be an integral part of long-term health considerations, and this leads to more limited choices.

Amputee Coalition Fact Sheet

When to Replace a Prosthesis

Web Development Fact Sheet

Last updated 01/2008
In order for an individual living with a limb difference or amputation to return to their family and/or workplace, they must be accurately fit with a prosthesis that matches their own anatomy; one that is constructed in such a way as to maximize their current or potential physical needs and activity level.

The Future Is Now

Web Development inMotion

Volume 17 · Issue 7 · November/December 2007
by Élan Young
“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Never mind the much-hyped remake of the television series Bionic Woman. In 2006, Claudia Mitchell became the real thing. Although Hollywood and human fantasies endow bionics with superhuman strength, Mitchell, a 27-year-old student and former Marine, is happy to use her new prosthesis to get back to living a normal life. Although its range of motion is still limited in comparison to the real thing, all she has to do is think about moving it, and it does. Continuous advancements in prosthetic and biomechanical technology are reaching beyond the realm of what once would have been dismissed as science fiction. This has given rise to speculation that one day upper-extremity amputees may be able to regain all the function and sensation in a bionic arm that a natural arm provides. According to the experts, this futuristic dream is not far from becoming a reality.

When a Prosthesis or Mobility Device Isn’t Enough, Part II

Web Development inMotion

Volume 17 · Issue 1 · January/February 2007
by Jason T. Kahle, CPO, and M. Jason Highsmith, PT, DPT, CP
Part I of this article appeared in the May/ June 2006 issue of inMotion and discussed amputees who need additional support for their residual limb when wearing a prosthesis or using a mobility device. Two examples of additional support include the support offered by higher walls on the prosthetic socket and the support offered by orthotic supplements, such as braces. Unfortunately, while these types of support are necessary for some amputees and can help them better control their residual limb, improve their gait, and avoid harming themselves, they can also be uncomfortable, can be aesthetically unpleasing, and can restrict the movement of the residual limb. In some cases, patients can, and should, take other measures to improve the stability of their residual limb.

When a Prosthesis or Mobility Device Isn’t Enough

Web Development inMotion

Volume 16 · Issue 3 · May/June 2006
by Jason T. Kahle, CPO, and M. Jason Highsmith, DPT, CP
Below-knee amputees frequently ask me to cut down the top back section of their prosthesis to enable them to bend their knee more easily. At other times, they ask me to cut down the sides because of discomfort or because the trim lines of the socket stick up too far and are cosmetically unpleasing. When above-knee amputees ask me for similar help, the area of the socket that needs to be cut for increased comfort is on the inside top and for better cosmetics on the outside top. Though I sometimes accommodate my patients’ requests because they are not detrimental to the fit or function of their prosthesis, many times, I have to tell them, “I can’t do that because it is not in your best interest.”

The Syme-Ankle Level Disarticulation: Heels and Healing

Web Development inMotion

Volume 13 · Issue 3 · May/June 2003
by Douglas G. Smith MD, Amputee Coalition Medical Director,
Choosing an amputation level is not always easy. The surgeon helps an individual patient understand and balance a complex set of variables. The goal, however, is always successful healing, preserving as much function as possible, and creating a residual limb that will work best with a prosthesis. Working as a team, we must weigh the benefits of different procedures with the possible downsides and decide on the wisest course of treatment.