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Advancements in Prosthetics – The Journey – Part 03

Advancements in Prosthetics – The Journey – Part 03

A big part of creating a custom prosthesis
is choosing from the hi-tech components available today. The more your prosthetist knows about you,
the better he or she can work with you to choose the right pieces. There are a lot of options, and choosing can
be complicated, but your prosthetist is there to help. Here’s the basic way a prosthesis works. From the ground up, you’ll have an artificial
foot and ankle that work like your natural foot. If you’re amputated above the knee,
you’ll have an artificial knee joint as well. Your limb fits into a socket created specially
in the shape of your body. The socket is made so that vacuum suction, a lanyard, or a pin
and lock hold your prosthesis in place. The socket is the most important part of a
prosthesis to me, and the socket is the part that the body actually goes into, because
that’s something that’s custom fit to that person. Whether it’s a microprocessor knee that you’re
wearing, or the highest, uh, quality of foot that you can put on or stick down there, you’re
not going to use it that socket’s not comfortable. So you’ve got to make sure that it’s comfortable
and functional and it can be done. You don’t have to walk around in pain. A prosthesis should not hurt, uh, I went to
a lot of different places you know, being fit for prosthesis and I had issues, I had
skin breakdown, I had pain, and I had people tell me you’ll get used to that, you’ll learn
to live with that, and you don’t have to do that. Uh, that’s, a prosthesis is not made
to hurt. The last place I went to as a patient was
uh, a place I went to for 15 years. Uh.. I looked at my first prosthesis, I looked at
my last prosthesis that they made me and it was basically the same thing. Uh, once I found someone that knew how to
fit my prosthesis correctly, uh, my prosthesis is very comfortable. I do everything that
I want to in it. Your fitting is the start of your prosthetic
experience. It should happen quickly, usually on your first day. In your fitting, and in
the steps ahead, your commitment determines your success. It’s important to work with
your facility’s prosthetic team, including your prosthetist, physical therapist and others,
to create goals for your outcome and lifestyle. Some people just want to be able to walk around
in their home uh, do the things in their home, go to church on Sunday uh, some people want
to get out and go to the ball games uh, you know, watch their kids play, they want to
get out and play with their kids in the yard. Uh, some people want to take it to other levels
and be athletic and uh, you know, go to the-the extreme sports uh, everyone should have expectations
of what they want to do and talk to their prosthetist about that. I want the patients, the amputees, to get
back to their lives and not pattern it around this prosthesis. I want it to be somethin’
like they put on like uh, uh, a pair of glasses or uh, you know, somethin’ like that. It’s
just part of what you put on to go do what you do every day. When you start walking again, you’ll work
closely with your facility’s physical therapist. Your P.T. will help you to strengthen and
re-train your muscles, allowing you to use your artificial limb naturally.
This is a time for work. The reason being is if you don’t work that
hard at it, uh, it’s gonna be a lot longer period before you go back to work, before
you go to the ball games, before you get back to that normal life. Uh, dedication is a part
that I ask from everybody. The more you dedicate yourself, the faster
it should happen. Physical therapy uh, to me is one of the most
important parts. What a physical therapist does is they understand
the body and how the muscles and the-the bone structure works together, they understand
all that. Uh, a good therapist will also understand a prosthesis and ah… the new prosthesis
and the componentry and how they work. The best therapists’ understands the body and
the prosthesis and they’ll know how to make them work together. It may be something as simple as how do I
get in and out of my car? And you’re gonna have therapists that will help you learn how
to do that. Without physical therapy, you’re learning
to do all these things on your own, and what will happen is if there’s some little something
wrong inside your socket or you’re having a pain or an issue there, you will compensate
for it, in whatever way, and what that will do in turn is cause you not to walk naturally. They’re gonna make you walk in a natural way. In the first days and weeks with your new
limb, you’ll work closely with your prosthetic team. You’ll learn about them, and they should
spend time learning about you. High quality care, a functional prosthesis, and a commitment
to you are the foundations your team should lay for a long-term relationship. That first, I’d say the first six months of
your amputation is gonna be a lot of work, a lot of work. But those efforts are well
worth those results that you get from it because after that period then you’re transitioning
more into a uh.. normal lifestyle of what you had before. As time goes by, wearing your prosthesis will
become simply a normal part of your daily routine. Of course, your body and your life
are always changing. Just remember, your prosthetics team is there to help when you need them. If you don’t feel you’re gettin’ that quality
of care there then you need to go somewhere else and search around until you feel like
you’re gettin’ it. Your prosthetist should have you on a good
follow-up program. Uh, you should be at a point where, if you ever cannot wear that
prosthesis, you call him right then and he get you in right then. You don’t need to go long periods of time
without talking to your prosthetist… Your prosthetist normally will be calling you,
uh, just to, uh, if nothing else say hello and see how your life’s going. And uhm, but
don’t be afraid to call him. I do not think about being an amputee now.
I don’t pattern my life around it. Uh, I love to do stuff outside. I’m a, you know, I’m
a hunter and I like to get out in the woods. I still gotta small farm, I still do my tractors,
I still do my 4-wheelers. Uh, I do everything in life that I want to do. It hasn’t changed
me other than me wanting to change the way amputees were treated. My situation, I wanted to go play baseball.
That was my dream. I don’t know where my life would have ended up if I would have had
two legs…to be honest with you. It’s took a completely different path over this time. What I do now, I love it. I love helping other
people. And, I love to see where they come from that time when it’s all gloom and doom.
And, you’re scared to death. To that point where we do get them up and they do start
back walking. And then six weeks down the road they’re back doing what they did before.

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