Living with limb loss can be a challenging and sometimes confusing time. Understanding and implementing all the information regarding your residual limb care and prosthetic care can be challenging. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help navigate you through this. Remember, if you have any questions or need further information contact our office. We are here for you!
A: Most amputees are ready for their first prosthesis about four to eight weeks after surgery. Healing is the first goal post surgery. Your Surgeon/Physician will need to provide a prescription for a prosthetic device. Fabricating a prosthesis generally takes three to four weeks from initial casting. A sample timeline may be as followed:
A: Daily cleansing and inspection of your residual limb is very important. Use your preferred body soap to clean your limb. If you are prone to bacterial or fungal issues with your skin, I recommend Defense soap (you can buy this on Amazon). Use a mirror if necessary to look at all aspects of your limb including the very end and back behind your knee. Look for signs of sores, blisters, breaks in your skin, rashes, etc. Skin redness that goes away within about 10-20 minutes of removing your prosthesis is typically okay, however if redness persists for extended periods, excessive pressure may be the cause. If you notice one of the above issues or anything unusual with your residual limb that concerns you, contact your prosthetist.
A: Typically, over time, it will decrease in size, shape and potentially length as muscles in your residual limb will atrophy (shrink). This is considered normal as your muscles are no longer performing all their intended functions. Daily changes will commonly occur in your limb, such as volume changes from morning to evening. Usually, your limb will be larger in the morning and as you become active and push fluid out your limb it to get slightly smaller. Long term changes, weeks, months, after amputation surgery, your residual limb may experience change in shape or size, usually smaller. Certain bones may become more prominent. Weight gain or weight loss can affect each individual limb differently. If these occur is normal and adjustments will be made by your prosthetist to maintain fit and comfort. If your residual limb has changed beyond normal adjustment ranges a replacement socket will be discussed.
A: You will typically wear it “24/7”, except when bathing. If your shrinker does not properly stay in place while sleeping, then only wear while awake to maintain proper placement. A shrinker is meant to help shape your residual limb and prepare it for prosthetic fitting. It also helps the process of desensitizing your limb and preparing it for when you start rolling on a liner before you are initially fit with your first prosthesis. Once you have been a prosthetic user for a few months you may not experience volume fluctuations. You would be able to discontinue use of the shrinker or uses it as needed when you experience fluid retention. Discuss with your prosthetists is you are unsure of wear time.
A: Simple answer is yes, however, his will depend on your age, your overall physical condition and your desire. Certain activities may be harder than others, but if you have the will then there is always a way. We do not like to limit or patients, however your safety and health are the most important thing. If you are determined and consistent you will have success. Stay tough both mentally and physically.
A: Depending on your overall physical condition following your amputation and fitting with a prosthesis, you have typically lost some strength and your P.T. will help you try to gain that back. Physical therapy will aid in avoiding further muscle loss, preventing muscular contractures, and improving proper, symmetrical gait habits. It is recommended but is not required for all amputees.
A: You should see your PCP at least every 6-months and more frequently if you are having medical issues. When you see your PCP, you should always discuss any issues you might be having with your residual limb or your prosthesis. It is very important that your PCP and your prosthetist are documenting the proper information to provide proper prosthetic supplies/care. For Medicare/Medicaid or private insurances to provide coverage, documentation of the each must coincide. If you are experiencing major prosthetic issue, you should ask your prosthetist to send his/her notes to help your PCP understand the issue.
A: You get 2 new prosthetic liners each calendar year without a prescription, however if you require more than 2 per calendar year, we need a prescription to document why more than 2 are required. When a whole new Prosthesis is required whether it’s your 1st or your 5th, you always need a new prescription. If only the prosthetic socket needs replaced, you will need a prescription for a socket replacement. If a prosthetic foot or knee unit is broken and no longer under warranty, you will need a prescription. Things you don’t need a prescription for include items such as socks, shrinkers, gel sheaths…etc. When in doubt just ask your prosthetist.
A: Whenever you have a question about something going on with your residual limb or with the fit or function of your prosthesis, you should contact your prosthetist and ask questions. Depending on the specific issue, you might need to make an appointment to go in and see your prosthetist. Always err on the side of caution. Many prosthetic questions can be addressed over the phone, but if not, make an appointment.
A: New amputees should gradually increase their wear time as the days and weeks go by. A safe time frame would be 1-2 hours in the morning, then 1-2 hours in the evening for the first week, then each week after that add 1 hour to this time frame, so after 8 weeks you should be able to wear your prosthesis for 8 hours at a time (ex. Week 4 you would be wearing 4-5 hours at a time). This is a safe timeframe for new amputees, however, keep in mind some patients move much faster than this and some much slower. The most important thing is to put it on everyday to get use to wearing it and always keep a close eye on your residual limb for sores, blisters or any other tissue disturbance that can set you back.
A: It is very important to maintain a clean liner. Anything that touches your skin must be clean! You can use warm soapy water (preferably an unscented soap like ivory). Turn your liner inside out and rinse with warm soapy water, dry off with towel and then turn fabric side back out. Another way is to use a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water. Turn liner inside out, spray liberally and wipe down. (Hoss uses the 50/50 mix method in the office, he says get in the habit of washing when you take off and right before you put it on)
A: Stump socks are made in different thicknesses called “plies.” They start at 1-ply which is a very thin sock and typically go up to 5 or 6-plies. The higher the ply number, the thicker the sock. The looser the socket, the more sock-plies you need to add. The sock will either have a number printed on the front or it will be color coded.
A: Stump socks are provided to help you manage changes in the volume of your residual limb. Your limb can lose volume from morning to afternoon. Each patient’s residual limb is different. Some may fluctuate 2-3 ply in a day, some may experience 6-8 throughout the day. It is important to adjust your sock ply accordingly to maintain proper fit, function, and comfort. Some signs that you may need to add a sock may include prosthetic socket or foot rotating or it feels like you have excessive pressure on the end of your residual limb. Try adding a one sock first, start with 1-2 ply and move up gradually until a level of comfort is reached. Adding one or more socks over your liner can often help to re-establish an intimate socket fit. Prosthetic socks can be layered on top of each other and should typically be worn over the outside of your liner. Over time, you will get used to adding and removing socks depending on what you are feeling in your socket. Whenever you leave home for the day, you should take some socks with you in the event you need to add them. And remember if you are in a locking pin style socket make sure your sock is clear of your pin.
A: No, Prosthetics are designed to be worn during the day and while you are awake, removed while sleeping. We recommend that you wear a “shrinker” on your residual limb at night to maintain the shape and configuration and help reduce edema and swelling of the residual limb. We also recommend that you apply creams to the skin during the evening.
A: If you wear similar styles of shoes such as, mainly tennis shoes (like New Balance, Nike etc.) there is usually no change in the way your prosthesis functions. However, if you are a person who wears boots, flats, heels tennis shoes etc., depending on the day or the activity, then you will need to discuss this with your prosthetist as the alignment of your prosthesis will change drastically based on the heel heights of various shoes causing ill alignment and function.
A: If you receive a new prosthesis typically, we schedule the first follow-up appointment within 1-2 weeks. This is followed by 4–6-week follow-up. Then 8–10-week follow-up. After this, assuming there have been no complications we move you to quarterly follow-ups. For more experienced uses these dates can vary, but as a rule you should always contact your prosthetist with any issues sooner rather than later to avoid minor issues becoming major.
A: Your first prosthesis is used for approximately 3-6 months. During these first few months is when we notice the greatest changes in your limb. We usually need to make multiple adjustments to both alignment and fit. Once your limb becomes more consistent and has fewer fluctuations, we will discuss a socket replacement to provide a nice intimate fit. After this a typical prosthesis can last 2-5 years. Certain circumstances can allow for these timelines to increase or decrease. Always call and schedule an appointment with your prosthetist to monitor your residual limb and your prosthesis.
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The best place to go for prosthetics!! I've tried the other two companies in Cape before and SEMO Prosthetics is the BEST!! Their work and customer service are A+! Horace goes above and beyond to make sure his customers are taken care of. I wish I would have known about this place sooner.
I HIGHLY recommend these wonderful people! Hoss and Stephanie treated us like old friends, from the 1st phone call and consultation, to making sure my husband's new prosthesis, that Hoss made, was the perfect fit! Then they customized inserts for both my 11 year old son, and my husband. Both say they help tremendously! No stress involved with our experience here. They take care of you. Try them out!!!
I am a below the knee double amputee and have been taken care of by all these wonderful, caring professionals since 2012. The personal care is outstanding and not like a "corporate owned" service that slaps legs on you and sends you on your way. I think I have driven Hoss Hodges and prior to him his father Bill (RIP) nuts because I am pretty fussy. They listened to me and turned my concerns into real solutions. No appointment is short. Time is taken to talk, listen and make the outcome successful. I love these guys. They gave me back my independence. I am so glad you are reaching out to others because you are the best and everyone should know this. Thank you!
Please feel welcome to contact our friendly reception staff with any questions you might have. Our staff will receive or return any urgent calls.
We offer evaluations for many acute problems including need for devices, fitting issues, gait deviations, reddened areas or sores. You can even be a current patient with another provider and just want a second opinion. We will professionally evaluate your prosthetic limbs and if needed make recommendations. After all, it’s your independence that’s at stake.
We strive to help our patients recognize their possibilities by providing quality prosthetic and orthotic care that enables them to achieve the highest possible level of independence and quality of life, in a timely manner and within a respectful environment, enabling our patients to live more comfortable and productive lives.
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