Most people who lose a limb return to their normal mode of functioning in a few to several months. But the learning process is not easy.
Figuring out how to use your prosthetic is like learning a new skill. You will need training, and must take time understanding how the device works.
A new prosthetic foot may cause some discomfort or frustration. But, in time, wearing your prosthetic foot will become second nature, as long as you are willing to use your energy and willpower to learn how to use your new foot, giving you more freedom in what you can do and accomplish throughout the day.
How you will learn to use your prosthetic foot
When you have a new prosthetic foot, you will first need to learn how to walk while wearing it. Working with a therapist, you will begin to stand using parallel bars until you get used to putting your full weight on your prosthetic foot.
Then, you’ll begin walking slowly with an aid, like a walker or cane. You will need to learn how to walk on a variety of surfaces. And, you will be instructed to perform exercises to strengthen your muscles and gain flexibility.
Eventually, you will hopefully be able to run, swim, climb stairs, and perform other activities you love. A can-do attitude is helpful as you learn because you are only limited by what you think you can’t do.
What you feel like after getting your prosthetic
Every amputee goes through their own unique struggle, but the feelings — of anger, denial, and depression — are the same. Our prosthetic experts understand the feelings of fear and uncertainty you may be facing if you have a new artificial foot.
But eventually, you can reach an acceptance about your situation. It only takes time, and your ability to be strong, patient, and to persevere.
Here are some tips (adapted from the National Amputation Foundation) to follow as a new wearer of prosthetics:
- Be positive. Believe that you can overcome your uncertainty and learn to use your new limbs. You can achieve what you believe you can.
- Find strength from within. Drawing on your mental strength is even more important than your physical strength when learning to use your prosthetic foot.
- Seek out other people with prosthetic feet. Find resources and other knowledgeable, experienced people to talk to when you have questions or need help.
Will your new prosthetic foot be comfortable?
As an amputee, you’ll wonder if your new artificial legs will be comfortable when you start wearing them.
And the answer is: Yes, your prosthetics should be comfortable and not hurt you.
If your prosthetic foot causes discomfort, schedule an appointment with Georgia Prosthetics to have it adjusted. Don’t try to fix it on your own or you risk doing damage to your new foot.
Here are some warning signs of a poor-fitting limb:
- Feet that feel heavy or are hard to move
- Open sores or blisters on your residual leg
- A residual limb that goes up and down in the socket when you walk
Your weight affects your prosthetic. When you wear prosthetics, it’s important to maintain a steady body weight. Even the slightest change in weight can affect how your prosthetic fits.
You will need to remove the prosthetic before bed
Another adjustment you need to make is changing your bedtime routine. Every night, you must remove the prosthetic before you go to bed.
You will also need to examine the device and your stump for damage or irritation, as well as to clean your skin and the prosthesis.
Follow-up care will be needed to checkup on your foot prosthetic
Like cars, your new device needs regular maintenance. Follow-up appointments, at least once a year, are recommended to ensure your prosthetic fits and continues to work properly.
Georgia Prosthetics can help you adjust to your new foot prosthetic
Located in Atlanta, GA, we have been serving amputees in the Southeast since 1984 and would love to help you. We offer pain-free prosthetic feet and other prosthetic options. Call (404) 724-8996 to schedule a free consultation about our top-of-the-line prosthetics for feet.