If you’re new to the world of prosthetics and orthotics or you have a loved one who needs these devices, you might have some questions about what they are and how the process works. It’s fairly straightforward and excellent providers work hard to keep the process simple and comfortable for the patients who need these devices.
Q: What are prosthetics?
A: Prosthetics are replacements for any part of the body is missing, whether it be through accident or medical amputation. Prosthetics can be used to replace most limbs, or even eyes. Prosthetics are often called artificial limbs.
Q: When can I get a prosthesis?
A: Patients become qualified for prosthetic devices at different times. Some will be ready almost immediately after they’ve completed post-surgical healing, but healing times vary from person to person. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, extend the amount of time needed for a patient to recover. Your doctor can assess you for readiness at your surgical follow up appointments.
Q: How does the prosthesis fitting process work?
A: The limb needs to be casted and compressed to start the process. The compression device, sometimes called a compression sleeve or a compression sock, is applied to the remaining portion of the limb. It helps to shape the skin and tissue in a way that makes it easier to get a secure socket fit. The casting process isn’t too much different from getting a regular cast, but the end result is something similar to a dental impression. This cast is what is used to create a perfectly customized socket.
Your prosthetist will work closely with you, considering your medical needs. A lot of measurements will be taken, and a lot of adjustments will be made. Getting the prosthesis perfect is an ongoing process, and you may require several fittings before you wind up with the ideal long-term limb. Along the way, you’ll work with your physical therapist to learn how to best use your prosthesis, and this process shapes the fitting an adjustment processes.
Q: Does every amputee qualify for a prosthetic device?
A: The vast majority of amputees will qualify for a prosthetic device. Depending on the nature of the amputation and the physical abilities of the patient, fitting a useful prosthetic device may be more difficult. Difficult does not mean impossible, so it never hurts to speak with an experienced and qualified prosthetist if you have questions about your unique situation.
Q: How do I care for my prosthesis?
A: All you need to do is wipe your prosthesis clean and thoroughly dry it. If your prosthetic device has joints, you may need to periodically lubricate those joints. Some prosthetic components are susceptible to rust, so it’s recommended that devices not be worn in water. Any complicated maintenance or adjustments can be handled by a prosthetist.
Q: What are orthotic devices?
A: Simply put, an orthosis is a device that provides support. Whether you get shoe inserts or braces, the idea is that the device is supporting a weaker part of the body or redistributing weight. These devices make movement more comfortable and sometimes provide long term support to people recovering from surgery or living with chronic conditions.
Q: Can I get an orthosis?
A: Many people benefit from using orthotics. Sometimes, doctors will even prescribe them. Even if your doctor doesn’t prescribe one, you still might be a great candidate. They’re an excellent remedy for a multitude of discomforts, especially those pertaining to the feet.
If you already have an orthosis and you need a new one, your orthotist and your doctor can work together to facilitate the process.
Q: What happens an at orthotist appointment?
Your appointment will go one of two ways, depending on the kind of orthosis you need. Some of them are premade, and some patients will require a custom solution. If your discomfort is of a simple or common variety, your orthotist will take measurements and provide you with the right device. If the issue is more complex, the orthotist will need to take measurements and create a custom device.
Q: Do orthotic devices fit inside of shoes?
Some orthotic devices fit inside of shoes. Some of them are larger and may not fit into shoes that don’t have adjustable tongues. You may need to purchase new shoes to work with your orthosis depending on its size.
Q: What if I still experience discomfort with my orthosis?
If you’re still experiencing discomfort with your orthosis, you may need to be reassessed. Old orthotics need to be replaced periodically. Sometimes, new orthotics need to be retooled or readjusted to promote and enhance comfort. An orthosis may not be capable of relieving all discomfort, but they certainly reduce uncomfortable sensations.
Are You Ready To Talk With An Expert?
If you have questions about prosthetics or orthotics, we’d be more than happy to answer them for you. All you need to do is contact us. We will be glad to schedule a free consultation with you.