If you were born with a congenital defect or underwent an amputation, then you may be a candidate for artificial limbs. A lower artificial limb can improve your mobility, posture, and balance, while an upper prosthetic limb will help you better navigate your activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and grooming. Although prosthetic limbs are likely to have an enormous positive impact on your life, you will need to consider the following factors before getting them.
After you have been properly fitted for your artificial limb, your physician will recommend that you enroll in a rehabilitation program. During your rehab sessions, you will perform strengthening exercises, you will learn how to use the prosthetic devices, and you will learn how to safely move while wearing your prosthetic limbs.
Your rehabilitation team will be comprised of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and rehab physicians. In addition to exercising during your physical rehabilitation sessions, you will also be able to use this time to ask questions about prosthetic limb care and stump care.
The rehab team will also watch you put on and take off your artificial limb to make sure that you do so correctly. If you do not put on your lower extremity prosthetic limb properly, it may come off when you put weight on it.
Getting Acclimated To Your Prosthesis
You will also need to consider the fact that you may need some time to get used to your new prosthetic limb. Even though you may have completed your rehabilitation program, you may still experience unusual sensations around your stump, including profuse perspiration and weakness. In addition, a phenomenon known as phantom limb pain may also make it challenging to wear your prosthesis.
Phantom limb pain refers to uncomfortable sensations that many amputees perceive as originating from a limb that is not there anymore. The most common sensations associated with phantom limb pain including itching, tingling sensations, shooting pain, and cramps.
If you develop phantom limb pain, your physician may recommend massage, warm compresses, and medications such as antidepressants, antiseizure medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or beta-blockers. Once your symptoms have subsided, your prosthetic limb will feel more comfortable and you will feel more confident while walking with your artificial leg.
To learn more about the above factors, make an appointment with your orthopedist. He or she will answer all of your questions and address your concerns so that you can decide if a prosthetic limb is the right choice for you.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers custom prosthetics.