If you recently had a leg amputated, then you may be starting to think about getting a prosthesis. Not everyone who loses a leg gets a prosthesis, but many do. You will need to go through some healing, both mentally and physically, before being fitted for a prosthesis. So how do you know when it's the right time? Start by asking yourself (and maybe your physician) the questions below.
How healed is the skin on the end of your remaining limb?
Not only should the incision on your remaining limb be fully healed, but you want the skin in this area to be healthy and thickened. If it is still very thin and sensitive, your doctor may recommend applying a lotion or healing cream to the area once or twice per day for a while. A prosthesis causes friction against this area, so you need the skin to be tough enough to resist rubs. It will become tougher, more callused, and more resilient over time as you wear the prosthesis, but you at least want to be at a decent starting point.
Is your other leg strong and healthy?
Learning to walk on a prosthesis can be a bit of a challenge. At first, you will use your other leg a lot for balance and weight support. As such, you need this other leg to be strong! If you've been mostly lying around and recovering, you may need to do a month or two of physical therapy to get the strength back in your healthy leg before you begin working with a prosthesis.
How good is the range of motion with your residual limb?
You should be able to move your residual limb quite freely before getting a prosthesis. If the limb is very stiff and has a limited range of motion, this is something you should work on with a physical therapist before moving forward.
Are you feeling mentally strong?
Losing a limb is really hard. Learning to use a prosthesis will be hard, too. So you want to make sure you are feeling mentally strong and motivated before you move forward towards this goal. If you're struggling mentally, consider seeing a therapist or attending a support group to get your spirits up prior to getting a prosthesis.
Meeting with a prosthetics consultant can help, too. They can discuss your answers to the questions above and guide you through this process, whether you start the process today or a year from now. For more information about prosthetics, contact a local professional, such as Bio Tech Prosthetics and Orthotics.Share