Preparing for a Prosthetic Limb: Tips to Adjusting
The recovery process following an amputation can feel overwhelming. Just as you learn to adapt to the changes ahead of you, the chance may arise to get a prosthesis. For many amputees, a prosthesis can create a significant change in their levels of independence as well as their confidence. If you have the opportunity to obtain a prosthesis, you should be prepared for the transition period as you adjust. There are some things that you can keep in mind to make the adjustment easier.
Focus on Basic Use First
When you first receive a prosthetic of any kind, the initial steps must focus on ease of use. For example, with a prosthetic leg or foot, you need physical therapy to learn how to walk again. With a prosthetic arm, you need to learn proper arm movements, grip, and balance. The longer it's been since your amputation, the more challenging this may feel. Be patient and remember that it will get easier with practice.
Address Discomforts Right Away
In most cases, your prosthesis will fit well with minimal adjustment needed. Sometimes, however, there are more extensive changes required to get the right fit. If the limb feels excessively heavy, hard to move, or seems to rub and cause irritations on your skin, those are concerns you should address with your orthopedic specialist. They can help adjust the prosthesis for comfort and proper fit. This will make a big difference in your learning process and your ability to use the prosthetic device easily.
Take It Off at Bedtime
Your orthopedic specialist will advise that you wear your prosthesis as much as possible while you are adjusting to it. This is important to help you gain confidence and become more comfortable with it. However, you should always remove the device before you go to sleep. This gives your limb an opportunity to rest and allows the exposed skin to breathe. This reduces the risk of skin irritation and fungal growth. Clean the prosthesis with an antimicrobial cleaner before you wear it again. Cleaning daily is important for safety.
These are some of the key elements to consider as you adapt to using a prosthetic limb for the first time. Your prosthesis will eventually become more natural and comfortable to use, and these tips will help you get to that stage faster and more effectively. Talk with an orthopedist about any concerns or questions you may have before you make the decision.