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Your First Visit to a Prosthetist as a Lower-Limb Amputee – What to Expect

March 18th, 2021  |  Published in Blog

As a new amputee, it may be hard for you to imagine living the life you are used to. Although you will have to adjust how you undertake normal daily living activities, we will help you regain the highest level of ability for your individual situation with a correct fitting prosthesis.

It’s important for us to make sure you have the right components to fit your lifestyle. For example, if you are a 26-year-old who is returning to work and engaging in athletic activity, your prosthesis will be different from a 72-year-old whose interests lie in the basement workshop or golf course, which will be different from a prosthesis for an individual who is homebound.

A prosthesis consists of the socket, which fits over your residual limb; a liner worn between the residual limb and the socket to provide cushioning; a suspension system that helps keep the prosthesis on securely; and lastly the components, the working part of the prosthesis that includes knees, ankles and feet. There are many options for this last group.

Fitting of your prosthesis begins when the swelling is under control and the suture line has healed, usually 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. During this time, you also will be wearing a shrinker to control swelling and to prepare for the prosthetic fitting.

Several visits are required before you receive your final prosthesis. This blog discusses the first visit.

Initial consultation

At our first meeting, we will review your required doctor’s prescription and ask you many questions about your overall health and medical history. We will discuss your rehabilitation goals and expectations, such as returning to work, engaging in athletic or recreational activities, living/caregiver arrangements, skill levels, and more.

We’ll also determine your muscle strengths and weaknesses as well as range of motion/flexibility of the involved and surrounding joints, not only of your residual limb, but your sound limb as well. Maintaining or reducing any contractures in your joints is important along with your overall strength to enable you to stand straight and gain balance.

Measurements will be taken of your residual limb and your sound limb. This will include the lengths and circumferences of body segments, and locations of bony landmarks and tendons. Careful attention is also paid to potential complications such as the presence of scar tissue, neuromas, edema, and weight problems.

The first visit is also a good time for a family member or trusted friend to be present. We will be giving you a lot of information and it’s always helpful for a third party to listen and recall details for you later, if needed. We understand you may have many questions and we encourage you to ask them.

Our next blog will focus on your second visit, where we begin the creation of the socket. The socket is the critical component to get the right level of fit and comfort.