Updated: Oct 27, 2020
We last left off in the process of being fitted with your new prosthesis as either an existing amputee or a new amputee in the diagnostic fitting stage with a test socket. Now we return and have gotten to the point where we had an appointment which got us a socket that suspends well, fits comfortably (today) and the alignment has allowed for walking up and down the parallel bars successfully and pain-free. As a patient you should be feeling stable and comfortable while standing, walking, and going from sit to stand.
- If you are a new amputee, this is all new and a process of learning how to assess the way the socket feels and the way the prosthesis walks with you. From this point learning these things more extensively requires physical therapy. Your next step with likely a more temporary socket setup (extended trial possibly, or simply without cosmetic coverings) will be to begin your therapy appointments.
- With a prosthesis that is custom made to fit your body and aligned to move with your natural gait, seeing a trained physical therapist will help to put the mechanics of your body together with the prosthesis. This typically means learning basic amputee walking mechanics, weight shifting, the safe usage of assistive devices (walkers, canes, crutches), gaining confidence in the prosthesis and occasionally further alignment or socket adjustments.
- If you're just replacing your prosthesis (with knee/foot), or a new socket you will likely experience an extended trial with a reinforced version of the diagnostic socket as well as the new components. This will especially be so if you are an active individual and participate in a lot of different things, or if there is a chronic issue that we will only be sure it has been addressed with time in the socket outside of the office. With this type of trial we are able to head off early socket problems or alignment issues that may require significant change.
- So if you are not a new amputee, and you've gone through the initial process of physical therapy before, should you attend more sessions? This is an excellent question, and more often than not, attending physical therapy appointments even one or two can help to improve your mechanics of walking with a prosthesis. One easy way to prevent general body pain in the long-term is to make sure you are using the prosthesis efficiently, and without gait abnormalities. Always taking uneven steps (favoring one side more) with your prosthesis for one instance, can cause long term back/hip and contralateral joint issues down the road and lead to gait habits that can be very difficult to correct.
- Whether you are a new or existing amputee, after attending some physical
therapy or taking your temporary socket out on an extended trial we move toward the finishing touches. You've worn the socket consistently, for full days and participated in everyday activities without issues in fitting or walking.
- Yay! We're ready to go to finish (epoxy acrylic laminated socket) and deliver the prosthesis. This is where we beautify the prosthesis to your requests and add the cosmetic covering if applicable.
- Delivery day is when all your consumable supplies will be ready, as well as the finished prosthesis and all your components will finally be signed for. Once the signature happens is when your prosthesis can be billed to your insurance.
- From here a few follow-up appointments may be in your future for adjustments as necessary, and for 90 days following the delivery date it will all fall under our warranty so don't wait to contact us if you have questions or problems!
Check back later for more information on what to expect the first year as an amputee with your new prosthesis!