Premier Prosthetic865-474-7094

Preparing for Your Prosthesis

Losing a limb can be a life-changing event. At Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville, before an amputation surgery, the surgeon and prosthetist meet with the patient to discuss what happens after surgery and the plans and goals after that.

Exercise Before and After Amputation

Certain exercises are taught before and after amputation. They help in improving the muscle strength and flexibility. The stronger and the more flexible a person is, the more he/she can do with or without the prosthesis.

Aside from increasing muscle strength and flexibility, exercises are also taught to help reduce the swelling of the residual limb and prevent its tissues from shortening. Shortening or contractures stiffen the tissues and can limit one’s range of motion. They also make it more difficult to use the prosthesis.

Strength, balance, and agility exercises are some of the most common forms of exercise taught before and after amputation.

Taking Care of the Residual Limb

Proper care after amputation is crucial to the healing process.

Reducing the swelling

The residual limb must completely heal before prosthesis can be worn. Swelling must also be reduced before prosthesis fitting. The use of elastic sock, also called a shrinker, is often recommended to reduce the swelling of the residual limb. The use of this elastic garment also helps in shaping the residual limb and prevent any irregularities that can make prosthesis fitting difficult.

Preventing contractures

Proper positioning of the residual limb is also vital to help prevent muscle shortening and tightening. Amputees are advised to support the residual limb and keep it from dangling or hanging. The use of a flat board (also known as amputee board) when sitting helps in supporting the weight of the residual limb.

Desensitizing the skin

During the first few weeks, the skin of the residual limb is sensitive to touch. This is where desensitization through massage, tapping, and rubbing can help. Patients can begin with light touch and gradually increase pressure as tolerance improves.

Preventing skin problems and infection

Daily limb care and hygiene is important for preventing skin problems and infection. The residual limb should be washed at least once daily using warm water and antibacterial soap. Moisture promotes the growth of infection-causing pathogens. Thus, the residual limb must be kept dry at all times.

Prosthesis Fitting

Once the swelling of the residual limb resolves, a temporary or preparatory prosthesis can be used. This is an easy-to-use and lightweight prosthesis, which helps amputees in learning how to use a prosthesis quickly. Eventually, this will be replaced with a permanent prosthesis with higher quality components.

Rehabilitation

The patient’s  physical therapist will work with them to help in gait training and will provide a number of exercises for improving cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. An occupational therapist may  help him/her in learning skills needed for day-to-day activities. If the patient is having a difficult time adjusting to the use of prosthesis, the help of a psychotherapist may be recommended.

Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville is committed in helping amputees restore their vitality and mobility. From amputation to rehabilitation, our surgeons and prosthetic experts will work with the patient every step of the way. If you are considering amputation or are unhappy with your current prosthesis, contact us for a free consultation. Call (865) 474-7096 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.

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