Amputee Success Stories in Employment

December not only marks a time of joy and celebration but also serves as a reminder to embrace the spirit of inclusion. Here we can celebrate the strength of the amputee community and acknowledge the diverse talents and abilities of individuals with limb differences. Below, we list nearly two dozen programs and services for amputee job seekers that will inspire those aiming to start a new life – or just a new chapter – in 2024.

As Diana Theobald observes in “How to Be an Amputee With a Job” (appearing in our September/October issue), it’s nice that the federal government sets October aside as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). But when you’re in the job market with a disability, one month barely scratches the surface. “I’ve been acutely aware of disability employment for more than 100 months in a row,” she writes. “The streak began immediately after my amputation. Would I be able to keep moving forward on my chosen career path? How does one do that on one leg?”

NDEAM is meant to focus attention on programs and services that help employers and disabled job candidates find each other. But you can get year-round access to many of those resources in our Amputee Community Resource Directory. With NDEAM just getting started, this seems like an opportune time to highlight some of the programs in our database.

While the Resource Directory doesn’t have a stand-alone “job programs” category, you can easily find relevant information by conducting a keyword search. We plugged in terms such as “job training,” “careers,” “employment,” and “work,” and came up with 22 distinct entries that support amputee job seekers. They include federal programs, state-by-state networks, independent nonprofits, and corporate initiatives.

We’ve summarized some of them below. While it’s a pretty robust list, there are almost surely other programs that escaped our notice. If you know of anything we missed, send us a note ( and we’ll update the Amputee Resource Directory.

Job Boards for Amputees and People With Disabilities

If you know what you’re looking for, your resume’s up to date, and you’re prepared to get out there and start doing interviews, there are a number of online job-posting sites that are specifically aimed at applicants with disabilities. Here’s what we found in our Resource Directory:

Jobs Ability: This innovative portal was developed by quadruple-amputee John Robinson in partnership with Microsoft and other high-tech partners. Jobs Ability lists hundreds of jobs from industry-leading employers, using AI to match you with the job openings that best fit your skills and career objectives.

Disability:IN Inclusion Works. Many of the world’s largest corporations use Inclusion Works to recruit talented people with disabilities. When we checked this morning, there were active listings from global leaders such as Google, Pfizer, Bloomberg, Walgreen’s, Qualcomm, CVS, and Expedia.

USA Jobs. The federal government’s official hiring portal includes employment opportunities specifically tailored for people with disabilities. Federal agencies are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. Follow the link and scroll down to the “Search Jobs” box.

Ability Jobs. Ability Jobs has thousands of positions posted by employers who are preapproved and committed to hiring amputees and other people with disabilities. More than 6,000 companies are registered, including small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits.

Recruit Disability. This nonprofit, open-source employment initiative shares information for job seekers with limb difference and other disabilities. This morning’s “Who’s Hiring” list includes major brands like Best Buy and Target, dozens of universities and government agencies, and disability-focused nonprofits such as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Career Advising and Workforce Development Services

Need to do a little homework before you start hunting for jobs in earnest? Here are some programs that can help you do the prep work you need, from assessing your skills to writing your resume, focusing your job search, polishing your interview skills, and negotiating workplace adaptations and accommodations.

Vocational Rehab Agencies, State-by-State Listing. As featured in our current print issue, Voc Rehab offices provide amputees with all sorts of employment support. Nearly every county in the US has an office. The best way to find the Voc Rehab agency in your area is to start with your state’s VR website. Find yours at

American Job Centers. American Job Centers provide free help to job seekers of all kinds, including people with disabilities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and located throughout the United States, AJCs offer amputees and other job seekers with disabilities a range of services, including access to job banks, computers, resume writing tools and printers, networking groups, workshops, and more.

AgrAbility. This nationwide nonprofit aims to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. Support programs cover many aspects of rural life, including gainful employment in the agriculture industry, and education/retraining to support career transitions.

Amputee Coalition Workforce Development Program. The Workforce Development Program helps participants (including teenagers, adults, and veterans) explore career options, transition back into the workforce, or start their journey into the workforce. Services include one-on-one career development meetings, resume writing assistance, fact sheets, webinars, and more.

Other Workforce Programs for Amputees

Centers for Independent Living. CILs are community-based nonprofits led by and for people with disabilities. There are roughly 350 CILs across the country, and all provide some form of employment support. Specific programs vary from location to location, but may include referral services, skills training, counseling, mobility support, transition assistance, and more.

AbilityCorps. AbilityCorps sponsors a wide variety of programs for amputee job seekers, including disability job fairs (both online and in person) and volunteer opportunities.

Job Accommodation Network. JAN is the leading source of free, expert, confidential guidance on job accommodations and employment issues for amputees and people with disabilities. JAN offers practical, one-on-one guidance and technical assistance on job accommodation solutions, including self-employment and entrepreneurship options.

Ticket to Work. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits based on disability, Ticket to Work provides you with the choices, opportunities, and support you need to enter the workforce and maintain employment, with the goal of becoming economically self-supporting over time.

Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship. PIA collaborates with employers and intermediaries to design inclusive apprenticeship programs that enable people with disabilities to gain credentials and skills to succeed in growing industries.

Embrace empowerment. Elevate possibilities. Experience the freedom of personalized mobility with our cutting-edge prosthetic solutions. Discover a world where every step is a testament to your strength. Contact us today at 888-819-4721. Follow us on Instagram @SouthBeachOP for more tips on prosthetic care.

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Strategies for Comfort and Mobility

Living with limb loss can be a challenging journey, but the advances in prosthetic technology have opened up new horizons of comfort and mobility for individuals who have experienced amputations. One of the foremost concerns for amputees is managing pain and discomfort. In this guide, we will explore the innovative solutions and strategies available for effectively managing secondary pain. REMEMBER — At South Beach Prosthetics, we aim for the ‘Perfect Fit’ every, single time. Just working with us can be your first step in reducing your pain and increasing your comfort. 

Key to preventing secondary pain after limb loss is preventing complications. This means taking meticulous care of your residual limb, your prosthesis and your general health.

Because your residual limb is hidden under your prosthesis, paying close attention to how it looks when your prosthesis is off is very important. Developing habits of twice-a-day inspection and care is very important.

Also important is taking care of your prosthesis, liners and socks.

And what is meant by the term “general health”? This means eating well, getting physical exercise and rest and emotional well-being. It also means managing any health conditions as well as possible. If you have diabetes, this means keeping your glucose levels under good control. And it means maintaining a healthy weight, without swings of weight gain or loss.

General Guidelines for Taking Care of Your Residual Limb

It is hard to overstate the importance of taking care of your residual limb. Your healthcare team will give you instructions, such as these general rules:

  • Wash your residual limb twice a day.
  • Use mild, fragrance-free soaps, as they are the least likely to cause skin irritation.
  • Do not use lotions on your residual limb unless there is a compelling reason to do so as advised by your prosthetist or by your doctors. When lotions are advised, use water-based lotions rather than alcohol-based, which tend to dry the skin.
  • Wash your liner every night using a mild, fragrance-free soap that is recommended by the liner manufacturer or by your prosthetist.
  • Do not wear a wet liner.
  • If your amputation is below the knee, check the hard-to-see area behind your residual limb knee with a mirror.
  • Report to your prosthetist the development of any blisters or reddened areas (that don’t go away when your prosthesis is off) on your residual limb.

Care for Your Prosthesis

  • An ill-fitting prosthesis greatly increases your risk of secondary pain. The socket should be comfortable and practical.
  • Always wear shoes with the same heel height as the one your prosthesis was aligned with originally to maintain the right alignment.
  • You should check your prosthesis frequently for unusual signs of wear and tear and report concerns as soon as possible to your prosthetist.
  • Pistoning occurs when the residual limb slips up and down inside the prosthetic socket while walking. This can cause the skin to pull and be damaged. This is generally due to poor socket fit and inadequate suspension. If you continue to experience pistoning after you have correctly applied your socket liner, contact your prosthetist to have your fit checked. To accommodate volume and shape changes of the residual limb, some sockets can be reduced and/or padded, thicker liners may be used or air bladders may be installed.
  • Perspiration is normal but can cause heat rash and abrasions. When sweating occurs, you should immediately remove your prosthesis. Dry your liner and skin before putting your prosthesis on again.

Keep Moving

When a group of people with limb loss was surveyed, nearly 50 percent reported pain in their non-amputated limb and 62 percent reported low back pain. This is because after amputation other muscles and joints have to carry extra stresses and loads. These stresses can cause strain, inflammation and further pain. Additionally, low back and hip pain can increase symptoms of phantom pain.

Your physical therapist can help you design an appropriate exercise program. Regular exercise will help you strengthen and retrain your muscles. Besides walking, a good follow-up program may include back extension strengthening and balance exercises – important for helping to decrease the stresses to your low back and hips. You should try and see your therapist once a year or so for gait evaluation. If you slowly develop poor gait habits, it can cause back and/or hip pain.

Weight Management

Strategies for Comfort and Mobility

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone. It is even more important after your amputation. Even a five-pound weight gain or loss can make a difference in the fit of your prosthesis.

Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Not only will this help with weight management, but it will also help with maintaining healthy skin.

Ready to experience pain-free mobility and comfort with the latest prosthetic solutions? Contact us today at (888) 819-4721 and take the first step towards a life without limits! Follow us on Instagram @SouthBeachOP for more tips on prosthetic care.

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Prosthetic Appearance and Covers

Today, there are endless options to customize your prosthetic appearance. The question boils down to individual preference. Navigate our ideas on prosthetic appearance and cosmetic covers and check what works best for you.

Everyone feels differently about the changes which have occurred to their body following an amputation. Some people find it hard to look at and/or even touch their residual limb (stump) in the early days. It is important to be honest about how you’re feeling and seek help if you have any concerns about your appearance, especially if you are finding it difficult to accept these changes.

What is a cosmesis?

How a prosthesis will look is more important to some people than it is to others. The look of a prosthesis is called its “cosmesis.” You should think about how important the cosmesis is to you, and talk to your Prosthetist about it as it might affect parts of the prosthesis you have chosen.

What is a non-functional prosthesis?

Some people who do not wear a functional prosthesis (i.e. don’t wear a working prosthetic leg or arm) may prefer to wear a non-functional lightweight prosthesis which is purely for cosmetic purposes. This type of prosthesis won’t allow you to take part in activities but it will help to fill out clothing and basically hide the fact that you have a missing limb. Talk to your medical team if you would like to consider a prosthesis for cosmetic purposes only.

What are cosmetic covers?

Prosthetic Appearance and Covers
Prosthetic Appearance and Covers

Cosmetic covers sit over all the parts between the socket and the end of the prosthesis (foot or hand). For example, someone with a below-knee amputation may have a cosmetic cover placed from the foot to the knee area.

Cosmetic cover options include:

  • Foam cover. This is the most common option. It is a dense foam which is hollow on the inside to fit over the parts of your prosthesis (such as the pylon and socket) and then shaped on the outside to match your other limb. It is usually covered with a stocking or a sock once finished.
  • Silicone Skin. A tight material which fits over the foam cover that can be worn instead of a stocking or sock. With this option, it is possible to replicate coloring, nails, hairs and other features to match your other limb.
  • 3D printed clip on cover. A light-weight metallic looking option which can be worn over the pylon (of below-knee prosthesis) or over the knee/pylon (of an above-knee prosthesis).
  • Commando. Going “commando” is a term commonly used when people prefer no cover at all.

Advantages of a cosmesis:

  • It can keep dirt out of the prosthesis, provide protection from knocks and help to keep parts of the prosthesis functioning well.
  • It can hide parts of the prosthesis from view if that is what you prefer.
  • It allows the area between the socket and the end of the prosthesis to be shaped to closely match your remaining limb.
  • It can fill out clothing better than a prosthesis without a cover, often making the prosthesis less noticeable.

Disadvantages of a cosmesis:

  • It can make it harder to get to the parts of the prosthesis to fix problems and/or make adjustments if required.
  • It can make the prosthesis slightly heavier.
  • It can sometimes get caught in and/or affect the ideal function of moving prosthetic parts for example, knee unit.
  • Custom-made silicone “skin,” which is matched to your features, can be more expensive than other cosmesis and cannot be re-used if you require a new prosthesis.

What is a socket?

Your socket is made just for you, as it is fitted to your stump via a suspension system. It will never fit anyone else, so you have options to make it your own.

Socket options can include:

  • Selecting a socket in a color you prefer, whether it is one single color or many colors together.
  • Choosing a picture that you like and having it laminated onto the socket.

Speak to your Prosthetist and ask about other ideas that you might have or would like to try.

South Beach Prosthetics stands with you every step of the way. Our state-of-the-art technology allows us to design, fit, and fabricate custom prostheses that match & exceed your expectations. We take your lifestyle and health into consideration while making them! Get in touch with us today at (888) 819-4721 to learn more about how we can help. Find our Facebook community here.

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Get by with a Little Help from Your Friends

Through all of life’s ups and downs, the hardships and triumphs are made better with the support of our friends. Sometimes, in life, those hardships are even more difficult to endure, and we need to lean on those who care for us to help bolster our spirits as we navigate a difficult path. While our lifelong friends and family members are often our support system — that needn’t always be the case! We are pleased to offer our patients space and a place where they can share their experiences with like-minded people who have successfully traveled down the same road. Our Friends Group can produce hope and open up new possibilities for those living with amputations or limb differences.

What Can I Expect From the Friends Group?

Prosthetic Group
Prosthetic Group

✅ A Listening Ear

✅ Connection

✅ Socialization

✅ Empowerment

Sometimes there is no substitution for chatting with someone who has had the same lived experience as you. The members of our Friends Group are all individuals who have lived with amputation for at least 12 months or have been born with a limb difference. A listening ear from someone who understands your experience can bring a lot of comfort.

Our Friends Group interactions are supportive, yet casual, and can range from phone calls, video calls, in-person meets, and outings. We know that friendship can grow out of the shared experience, and it is healthy for recovery to have an ear to bend that understands the recovery process and what you may be going through.

The Friends Group empowers its members by hearing and seeing the success stories of others who have had a similar journey with amputation — providing demonstrable proof that life post-amputation can be happy, healthy, and active. With the confidence gained from participating in the Friends Group, we don’t doubt you will want to pay it forward when you feel ready!

Prosthetic Group
Prosthetic Group

We understand what it is like to live with an amputation or limb difference — and we can connect you with others who understand the same! If you feel you need to chat and have someone listen, we can provide you with a supportive and empathetic experience that can help support you in your recovery — Friends Group provides just that.

Enhance your physical and emotional well-being through healthy, casual conversations with like-minded people! Connect with others, share your story, and join the community! Our compassionate and knowledgeable team knows how to best support you in your recovery post-amputation.
Visit our Facebook page or give us a call at (888) 819-4721 to see all of the services we have to offer you! 

Practicing Body Neutrality

If you’re wondering, “Uh, what’s body neutrality?” then you’re in the right place. At its core, body neutrality is the idea that you can exist without having to think too much about your body one way or another, positive or negative. You can simply exist and be worthy of respect without thinking about your body at all. You can learn more about this idea below, which can help you cope with difficult changes in your body.

Most people want to feel energized and experience a sense of vitality. In the 1970s, Dr. John Travis created a spectrum of wellness, with illness on one side, a point of neutrality in the middle (when a person has no signs or symptoms of disease), and on the other side wellness.

Wellness is a state of health and flourishing beyond simply not experiencing illness. In this state people feel confident, open to challenges, curious, and thirsty for action. They are thriving. People who experience wellness may seek to hike a mountain, read a new book, learn how to play a new instrument, or actively connect with new people.

The most common health conditions facing people today include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. When people are experiencing these (and other) conditions, they fall into the illness side of the spectrum. Lifestyle factors that put you at risk for developing these conditions include smoking, alcohol substance use disorder, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, and a diet rich in processed foods, sugar, saturated fat, and artificial flavors. An unhealthy weight is another factor that can put one at risk for these conditions, especially carrying extra weight around your midsection.

To move to the wellness side of the spectrum, you can include more movement in your day; enjoy a whole-food (unprocessed), plant-predominant style of eating; avoid smoking; sleep seven to nine hours a night; practice stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, yoga, meditation, tai chi, and mindfulness; and spend time with family and friends.

Think about what your body can do for you — and what you can do for your body

People of many sizes and shapes can be healthy and well, especially when they are connected to a calm mind that is practicing mindfulness, self-compassion, and a growth mindset. A body that is in the neutral point on the wellness spectrum can move to the side of thriving and flourishing when healthy lifestyle habits are adopted and sustained, and that has little to do with your body’s shape or size.

The body neutrality movement emphasizes the incredible functions, actions, and physiology of our bodies without regard for how our bodies look. We can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. We can jump, skip, sing, hug, and dance. Our muscles have mitochondria that give us energy.

Practicing Body Neutrality

Our digestive system is one example of the wondrous process of the body. The digestive system has billions of microbes living in it that help us to ferment fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and create short-chain fatty acids that help us with energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, inflammation, immunity, and more. This is why it’s important to eat fiber, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Connected to our bodies are our brains, and they are full of neurons (brain cells), synapses (connections), neurochemicals, and hormones that help to protect brain cells and make new ones. Moving our bodies helps to increase these chemicals. In addition, moving our bodies regularly helps us to increase serotonin, which may help us feel less anxious and depressed. Hugging increases oxytocin in the brain, and this “love hormone” helps us feel a sense of belonging and bonding. The body’s actions have a powerful impact on the brain, and vice versa.

Body positivity versus body neutrality

Body positivity is a movement that invites people to appreciate the body size and shape they have now without worrying about unrealistic body standards. With body positivity, society’s unhealthy standards for body shapes and sizes are challenged. It’s also important to remember that cultural norms and what’s considered an ideal body change with time.

The goal with body positivity is to honor and appreciate all body types, especially your own body. Feeling confident about the way you look feels good and can be empowering.

With body neutrality, the focus is on the function of your body: finding happiness and fulfillment, appreciating the power of our muscles, the strength of our bones, the protection our skin offers, and the rewards of the dopamine system in our brains. Connecting with friends and family, reaching small, meaningful goals, and enjoying physical activity are healthy ways to approach your body. A focus on finding pleasure in the wellness journey will serve your body — at any size — and your brain.

Remember all the things your body can do for you

  • Transport you from one place to another (quickly or slowly)
  • Release neurochemicals that give you pleasure, like from hugging a loved one
  • Move your arms and/or legs with joy following the rhythm and beat of music
  • Take deep breaths to calm your mind
  • Perform stretches that release endorphins
  • Practice yoga, tai chi, or qigong, which can help calm the body and mind.

South Beach Prosthetics stands with you every step of the way. Wherever you are in your journey, you can count on our support & expertise to get all the prosthetic care you need. Get in touch with us today at (888) 819-4721 to learn more about how we can help. Find our Facebook community here.

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This Therapy Helps Stop Negative Self-Talk

We all have an inner critic. At times, this little voice can keep us motivated toward goals. However, this voice can often be more harmful, particularly when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity. This is known as negative self-talk, and it can really bring us down. Learn how to deal with it and stay positive.

It sounds hopeless, but the good news is that there is a way to break through these unhealthy thought patterns with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, experts warn that this approach is not for everyone.

What is CBT? 

CBT is based on the idea that behaviors, emotions, and thoughts are intertwined. Thoughts influence an individual’s feelings which influence behavior. CBT-trained therapists use these three pathways to effect change.

However, for CBT to work, it requires active participation on the client’s part. When the client is willing to put in the work, randomized clinical trials have shown that CBT can ease anxiety, depression, eating and sleeping disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive thinking, among many others.

But unlike other psychotherapy styles, CBT focuses on the present. It doesn’t seek to address underlying issues, like systemic problems in families and childhood trauma. Its goal is to provide individuals with tools they can use on their own, which translates to a shorter-term treatment.

If you think you or someone you know can benefit from CBT, we break down everything you need to know about this therapy style below.

Thoughts, not circumstances, affect actions and feelings  

One of the most common misconceptions is that circumstances directly influence what one feels and does. In CBT, therapists believe that the critical factor is how individuals interpret these circumstances and act based on those interpretations.

You can try this by being more aware of your thoughts. When you notice your mood changing, figure out what you were thinking right before you felt worse. This powerful exercise can show you how your moods are, in fact, not affected by what’s happening around you but how you interpret these circumstances.

When you are more aware, you’ll get a realistic and accurate view of your circumstances.

Overcoming negative thoughts  

Therapy Helps Stop Negative Self-Talk

If you want to overcome your negative self-talk, you have to begin by identifying what you tell yourself in moments of distress. For example, if you’re anxious, your thoughts revolve around the theme of threat. You tell yourself that you’re not equipped to handle your challenges or that the world is scary. Meanwhile, if you’re depressed, your thoughts revolve around feelings of unworthiness.

Once you identify these thoughts, your therapist will help you analyze these thoughts with a series of questions that can help you verify whether the thought is true or not. More often than not, most patients realize that these negative thoughts are not valid. And the interesting thing is that everyone is prone to these thinking errors.

CBT is not positive thinking  

Contrary to popular belief, CBT is not about shifting negative thoughts to positive ones, which psychologists say doesn’t help. Instead, CBT helps train you to become more compassionate to yourself and be more realistic about your situation.

Putting in the work  

The best thing about CBT is that the work doesn’t end when you walk out of your therapist’s door. Therapists typically hand out worksheets or a list of apps that can help patients change their thinking and their life even after the sessions have ended.

One primary tool CBT-trained therapists use is an automatic thought record. It can be a physical or digital note where patients can track what they are feeling, thinking, and doing in between sessions. The notes are then used to evaluate the patient’s thoughts during the next therapy session.

How to find a CBT-trained counselor  

You can check the lists of CBT-trained counselors by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the American Psychological Association.

Have you tried cognitive behavioral therapy? If you haven’t yet, is it something you’re considering?

South Beach Prosthetics manufactures and provides comfortable, high-performance prosthetic solutions that meet individual patient requirements in a compassionate and supportive environment. We are here for you. Connect with us to learn more at (855) 958-1777 and join our Facebook community. Ask us about our in-home care and our no-cost transportation services!

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What You Need to Know About Prosthetics as A New Amputee

The goal of a prosthetic is to restore normal body function to a patient. Prosthetic limbs allow amputees to walk, write, run, hold items, and perform all kinds of other activities that collectively increase the quality of life. Here is everything you need to know about prosthetics as a new amputee — and if you have other questions, call us! We have a great support team that gets all your questions answered. We are also about ‘The Perfect Fit!’ — we don’t let you live with any physical discomfort from your prosthesis! 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information out there, so we took some of the commonly asked questions to help you decide whether you want to get a prosthesis and what to expect once you have your device.

Why get a prosthesis?  

Choosing to use or forego a prosthesis depends on your goals. Consider the following questions: What do you want to do with a prosthetic limb? What activities do you want to do after limb loss? Do you want to run or resume playing a sport?

After carefully answering these questions, work closely with your healthcare team. They can address your concerns and guide you to a device that will help you meet your goals.

How does a prosthetic limb work?  

A prosthesis is an extension of your body. It’s a tool that helps you regain mobility or independence after limb loss. Individual prostheses differ depending on a person’s physical abilities, level of amputation, and needs and goals.

Upper- and lower-limb prostheses have similar essential components. However, upper-limb prostheses will have a “terminal device” such as a hand, hook, or a specialized tool. The focus of upper-limb prostheses is on functional enhancement. Meanwhile, lower-limb prostheses feature a foot and focus on walking.

Both upper- and lower-limb prostheses have a prosthetic socket. This is the receptacle into which the residual limb will fit. A prosthetic liner, socks, or both are first worn over the residual limb, followed by the socket.

The prosthetic limb must also be suspended or held with a suspension sleeve or a locking pin attached to the liner. Your prosthetist will be able to discuss the many socket and suspension options with you.

What You Need to Know About Prosthetics as A New Amputee

How much will a prosthesis cost?  

Prostheses have a wide price range. It depends on your limb loss level and the type of device best suited to you and your needs. Insurance plans typically cover the partial cost of the device. Some plans may even cover the entire cost of the prosthesis.

Work closely with your insurance company to understand the types of devices and the services covered by your policy. Be prepared to make several calls and provide documentation. You are your advocate in this case.

Find out if working with your prosthetist on the fit and alignment of your device is bundled with the total cost of your prosthesis. Typically, prosthetists continue to work with you until you’re comfortable with your device’s fit and alignment.

What is a K level?  

The K level is a rating from 0 to 4. It is used to predict your potential success with your prosthesis. Medicare uses this system to rate your rehabilitation potential. And many private insurance companies also use this system to establish coverage guidelines.

To determine your K level, your doctor will assess your cognitive and physical abilities.

K0 Level

The individual doesn’t have the ability or potential to ambulate or transfer safely with or without assistance. A prosthesis will not enhance the person’s mobility or quality of life.

K1 Level

The individual has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for transfers or ambulation on level surfaces at fixed walking speeds.

K2 Level

The individual has the potential or ability to overcome low-level environmental barriers such as uneven surfaces, curbs, or stairs.

K3 Level

The individual has the ability or potential for ambulation at a changeable measure. Most people under this classification can overcome most of the environmental barriers mentioned above. They may also have activities that demand prosthetic limb use beyond simple movement.

K4 Level

The individual has the potential or ability to use a prosthesis beyond basic ambulation, exhibiting high impact or energy levels. A child, an active adult, or an athlete will typically fall under this classification.

When can I get a prosthesis?  

It depends on how quickly your residual limb heals from the surgery. Some receive a temporary prosthesis immediately after amputation or within two to three weeks. Fitting for a prosthetic device usually begins two to six months after surgery when the incision has completely healed, the swelling has gone down, and your physical condition improves.

Meanwhile, the rehabilitation process begins soon after surgery with physical or occupational therapy. You learn how to move with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches and exercise and stretch to avoid contractures. These exercises keep you as mobile as possible and prepare you for wearing and using your prosthesis.

How soon can I go back to what I used to do pre-amputation?  

Your new normal depends on your amputation type, rehabilitation process, and health and well-being. Expect the first year to be challenging. There will be changes in the shape and size of your residual limb, and you will work with your healthcare team to recondition muscles. Your body will also need to relearn activities, coordination, gait, and balance. You will continue to improve with time and effort.

What if the device doesn’t fit?  

Fitting for your prosthesis involves several visits to your prosthetist. Some amputations can be challenging to fit, requiring multiple fittings. And even when your device fits properly, it takes some time to get used to the sensation of having extra weight through your residual limb.

Although some initial discomfort is expected, pain is not part of the process. If you feel pain, be as specific as possible in describing the pain and where you feel it. This allows your prosthetist to address your concerns accurately.

As your residual limb continues to change and heal, make sure not to miss any follow-up appointments. Your prosthetist must make adjustments to ensure your comfort and avoid significant problems.

How long does a prosthesis last?  

Depending on your activity level, growth, and age, a device can last anywhere from several months to years. In the early stages after limb loss, many changes occur in the residual limb, leading to shrinking. This may require changing your prosthetic socket, getting new prosthetic liners, or even a different device.

If your activity level increases or you want to do more activities, you may need to change your device or some of its components.

Is it challenging to use a prosthetic limb?  

It can be a challenge. It takes time, effort, determination, and patience. However, you have nothing to worry about. Prosthetists typically offer some training on how to use and take care of a prosthesis. It’s also helpful to work with a physical or occupational therapist. Working with a therapist will make prosthesis use tolerable for first-timers.

Can the prosthesis break down?  

Yes, your prosthetic limb may require repair or replacement so take note of warranties. Get minor problems fixed right away. Waiting may lead to a more complex repair job or severe skin problems. Waiting to get your prosthesis fixed will not only harm your residual limb but other parts of the body as well. Unsolved issues will also affect your posture and the performance of the device.

If you have more questions, we highly suggest consulting with your prosthetist. But if you don’t have one yet, we also have a guide to choosing the right prosthetist for you.

South Beach Prosthetics develops and provides comfortable, high-performance prosthetic solutions that meet all patient requirements in a compassionate and supportive environment with ongoing solutions and care. Connect with us to learn more and schedule your complimentary consultation.

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Desensitization Exercises After Limb Amputation

Hypersensitivity to touch in your residual limb occurs in many cases. Engaging in a comprehensive rehab program, including exercise and desensitization exercises, can help you have a successful recovery after limb amputation. Here, you can understand more about desensitization exercises.

If you have had a limb amputation, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist to help you regain maximal mobility. Your physical therapist can show you exercises to do, teach you how to manage your prosthesis, and maximize mobility while minimizing pain or discomfort. Rehabilitation after a limb amputation—lower extremity or upper extremity—typically involves several different components. Exercise can help improve your strength and range of motion. Wrapping can help shape your residual limb to prepare it for proper use of the prosthesis. Desensitization exercises can help decrease residual limb hypersensitivity.

Desensitization exercises may be one component of your rehab program after limb amputation. These exercises are designed to help decrease hypersensitivity that may occur after an amputation. After an amputation, you may feel phantom limb pain. Sometimes the end of your limb may become very sensitive to touch. This can make using a prosthesis difficult or impossible.

Why Are Desensitization Exercises Necessary After Amputation?

Why Are Desensitization Exercises Necessary After Amputation?

After limb amputation, an area of hypersensitivity can develop along the healed surgical incision. This can make wearing a compression bandage painful and it may interfere with prosthetic use. Special desensitization exercises can help decrease this uncomfortable sensation. The technique involves the gradual advancement of texture and pressure application to the hypersensitive area. By consistently providing a changing input to the nerves of your residual limb, your hypersensitivity will decrease and prosthetic use can become more comfortable and natural.

Before starting desensitization exercises—or any other exercise after an amputation—check in with your doctor or physical therapist to ensure that the exercises are safe for you to do. You should never rub any material over an open incision or wound as part of desensitization exercises. This may cause infection to enter your body through the incision.

To begin, lightly rub a smooth textured material, like silk, across the hypersensitive site. Rub back and forth, in circles, and random directions. Be sure to cover the entire area that may be hypersensitive. You should feel discomfort, itching, pain, or sensitive sensations while rubbing the material on your residual limb. You should rub over the sensitive area for a few minutes, and the desensitization exercises can be done several times each day.

When you stop rubbing your limb during the desensitization exercises, the uncomfortable sensations you are feeling should go away. At the very least, they should decrease in intensity.

Once the sensation becomes comfortable over the course of days or weeks, advance the texture as well as the pressure applied. A rougher surface may be required and slightly more pressure against your residual limb may be necessary. Desensitization should be performed every two hours for 15 minutes throughout the day.

Different Textures to Use for Desensitization Exercises

You should use various textures for your desensitization exercises. This can help you gradually decrease the hypersensitivity you are feeling in your residual limb. Your physical therapist can give you ideas of different textures to use to advance your desensitization exercises.

Texture advancement may be progressed from smooth to rough as follows:

  • Silk
  • Cotton
  • Velvet
  • Corduroy
  • Wool

Your tolerance to each texture may vary, and you may have to progress slowly over a few days (or weeks) for each type of texture. Working closely with your PT and doctor during this time can be important, just so you know exactly what to expect with desensitization exercises.

By performing your desensitization exercises using a variety of surfaces and pressures, you may be able to decrease your overall hypersensitivity to touch in your residual limb. Engaging in a comprehensive rehab program, including exercise and desensitization exercises, can help you have a successful recovery after limb amputation.

Our team understands your journey, and we go above and beyond to make sure you can overcome every challenge. We are here for you. Connect with us to learn more at (855) 958-1777 and join our Facebook community. Remember – we also offer free transportation for prosthetic appointments and deliver in-home care. You can also ask us about the South Beach Prosthetics Friends program for support and camaraderie.

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Phantom Limb Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Phantom limb pain was for a long time poorly understood. In recent years, advances in medicine are changing that. The first step in treating phantom pain is to acknowledge that phantom pain is both very common and very real. Here you can go through the symptoms, treatment options, and how to cope with pain. At South Beach Prosthetics, we understand the journey you are undertaking. We stand with you – not just at this moment, but in your continued journey as you navigate these challenges.

As many as 80% of people who have an amputation experience some kind of “phantom” sensation in their amputated limbs. However, up to half of those who experience these disturbing feelings do not receive any treatment for—or relief from—their pain. This makes phantom pain a chronic pain condition that needs to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life for those who have had an amputation.

What Is Phantom Limb Pain?

Phantom Limb Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

After a limb is removed, you may continue to feel it, as though it were still there. Phantom limb pain is not the same thing as stump pain, which is felt in and around the incision following surgery. Stump pain is localized to the amputation site, while phantom pain is felt in some part of the leg that is no longer attached.

Many people describe burning sensations in their toes though they may be missing their entire leg below the knee. This can be a confusing and even scary sensation, leading some people to believe that they are losing their minds.

The first step in treating phantom pain is to acknowledge that phantom pain is very common and very real.

Theories About Causes

No one knows for sure why amputees have phantom pain, but a few possible explanations are widely believed to be true.

  • Memory of Limb Pain: Some researchers theorize that after a limb is damaged beyond repair, the brain is “used to” feeling the pain. Even after the limb has been removed, the brain continues to sense the same kind of pain. It is like having a memory of the pain because the pain is wired into the brain.
  • Nerve Bundle Stimulation: The severed nerves around the amputation site either misfire or are stimulated in some way, sending a pain message to the brain. These are the same nerves that used to reach all the way into the limb. Sometimes following surgery, these nerves form bundles called neuromas. When they fire, the brain interprets these signals as if the nerve were still intact, and “feels” pain in the toes.
  • Rewiring of the Nervous System: There has been evidence that when a limb is amputated, changes take place in the brain and spinal cord that cause pain to be interpreted differently than before. It is not yet clear, however, if this is a cause of phantom pain or if this happens as a result of it.


Regardless of its cause, phantom pain can be a debilitating condition. Pain is often described as burning, stabbing and throbbing—typical descriptor words for neuropathic pain. Phantom pain may happen in a continuous cycle, or it may be brought on by outside factors, such as temperature change, stress or stump irritation.

Most people describe their phantom pain as if it were coming from the distal parts (parts furthest from the core of the body) of the amputated limb. In other words, feet, toes or hands. Phantom sensations are more common in the first few months after surgery than they are several months down the road, but they can happen at any time after an amputation.

Treatment Options

Like most chronic pain conditions, no single treatment approach works for everybody. Here are some of the most common approaches.

  • Medication: Because it is considered a neuropathic disorder, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are often prescribed for phantom pain. NSAIDs, opioids, and muscle relaxants are also on the list of medications. As with other chronic pain conditions, finding the right medication can take time and patience. Sometimes successful phantom pain relief takes a combination of these medications.
  • Mirror therapy: Many therapists use mirror therapy in their treatments both for those with phantom limb pain and for those who have had a stroke. This usually involves placing both limbs in a mirror box, which makes the amputated limb appear intact. The individual is then asked to perform exercises with “both” limbs. This tricks the brain and effectively reduces phantom pain for some people. Further studies are needed to see if mirror therapy offers relief, though unlike many treatments, there is little potential for side effects with this treatment.
  • Stump stimulation: Using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), applying pain-relief patches (such as the lidocaine patches available by prescription or over the counter) or rubbing the stump can relieve phantom pain in some people. Using hot packs and cold packs can work for some people. Providing an alternate sensation from the stump can interrupt pain signals.
  • Cognitive therapies: Some people find relief from their phantom pain through hypnosis, relaxation or guided imagery. These approaches can change the way the brain interprets phantom sensations, including phantom pain.

Additional Treatment Options for Phantom Limb Pain

Usually, more than one treatment approach is used to get phantom pain under control. Some people, however, may require more invasive forms of treatment.

These include additional surgery to untangle nerve bundles at the amputation site, nerve blocks, stimulation of the spinal cord or the brain to change the way pain is interpreted and implantation of pain pumps that deliver medications directly to the spinal cord.

Support and Coping

As with other medical conditions, chronic pain affects our emotional lives as well as our physical being. Many people with phantom limb pain have found psychotherapy helpful in adjusting to their amputation and in learning many of the relaxation and coping skills which can reduce pain.

In addition, talking to others who have faced similar challenges can be priceless, and there are several online support groups, support organizations, and Facebook communities dedicated to those who are coping with an amputation as well as phantom limb pain.

Bottom Line on Phantom Limb Pain

We’ve learned that a significant number of people who undergo an amputation live with phantom limb pain, and for those who do, there are many people who are not adequately treated for this pain. Chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life, impacting your job, your relationships, and your ability to enjoy your passions.

There are now pain specialists who specialize in treatment difficult-to-manage pain such as phantom limb pain. As noted above, it can be a laborious process finding the right combination of treatments to get this pain under control, but with persistence, many people can live a much more enjoyable life after amputation.

Some people have found that keeping a pain journal is helpful in learning what helps, and what does not, as various modalities are tried, as many of the methods may blend together as you look back. In addition to finding a physician, you can work with to manage your pain, check out these ideas on what you can do yourself to best cope with chronic pain.

As a final note, there are many lifestyle habits which can make chronic pain worse, for example, both eating junk food and smoking can increase chronic pain. Taking the time to live healthy may not only lessen your pain but improve your general health as well.

From highly personalized attention to customized in-home solutions, our mission is to empower you to lead the lifestyle you want to live. Give us a call today at (888) 819-4721 to learn more about how we can help or find us on Facebook. Don’t forget – we also offer FREE transportation to your prosthetics appointments. Just give us a call!

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6 Possible Causes of Hip Pain When Sitting

Sitting with an incorrect posture can cause a variety of issues in prosthetic users. A common one is a hip pain. Learn some tips on how to avoid certain positions – and how to recover from and alleviate the pain. At South Beach Prosthetics, we understand the journey you are taking, and we will assist you in every step of the process. We even offer free transportation to your prosthetic appointments! (Just call (888) 819-4721 and ensure we have two days’ notice to get you on our schedule!)

Experiencing hip pain when sitting can be caused by different things, including incorrect posture and medical conditions. An imbalance in the body often causes general hip pain in prosthetic users. After amputation, other joints and muscles have to carry extra weight and may be subjected to more stress. This imbalance is often exacerbated when sitting with an incorrect posture.

For many prosthetic users, addressing hip pain when sitting can mean working with a physical therapist who can design an exercise program that can be done at home. Regular exercise is known to strengthen and retrain muscles, especially after limb loss.

Walking is one of the best exercises to help relieve hip pain. But a good program for prosthetic users can also include balance exercises and back extension training—all are essential to help decrease the stress on the hips and the low back.

If you’re a prosthetic user experiencing hip pain, we highly recommend seeing your physical therapist at least once a year for gait evaluation. Regular gait evaluation ensures that your prosthetic limb and body are in good shape. It also helps prevent hip or lower back pain, increasing or exacerbating symptoms of phantom limb pain.

However, if you’re sure that your gait or prosthetic limb isn’t the cause of your hip pain when sitting, please continue reading. Your discomfort may be caused by one or a combination of any of the conditions we outlined below.

What does pain in the hips mean?  

Pain in the hip can range from mild or dull discomfort to severe or sharp pain. It’s also common for the hip joint to pop or feel stiff while sitting.

However, diagnosing pain in the hip area isn’t as straightforward as it can seem. Pain in the hips may come from the hip joint or any surrounding nerves, tendons, muscles, blood vessels, and ligaments.

Possible causes of hip pain when sitting  


The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back to the area just below the knees. A person experiencing sciatica will often describe the pain as originating in the buttock area or lower back and traveling into one or both legs. The pain itself can be described as burning, shooting, or stabbing pain. Numbness and weakness can also occur.

For people with lower-limb amputation, sciatica may indicate an increase in size or hypertrophy of the sciatic nerve. But sitting for long periods can also lead to sciatica.

Treatments for sciatica include chiropractic treatments like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, spinal alignment, and hot or cold therapy. Specific exercises and stretches, as well as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs, can also be prescribed.


Ischial bursitis or simply ‘bursitis’ is severe inflammation in the ischial tuberosity or sitting bone. Many above-knee prosthetic users complain about pain in this area because the ischial tuberosity typically absorbs body weight when they sit or wear their prostheses.

Bursitis develops due to the inflammation of the bursae—tiny sacs that lubricate the areas between the muscles and the bones to reduce friction. When the bursae undergo too much friction, they fill up with fluid in an attempt to protect the tendon.

Your physician may recommend exercise, rest, hot or cold treatments, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, splints, braces, or physical therapy to treat bursitis.


When inflamed, tendons can be painful, irritated, or swollen. You may feel pain in the area in front of the hip or the groin if you have tendinitis. You may also notice clicking or snapping sensations.

Your physician may recommend rest, cold therapy, compression, physical or occupational therapy, splints or braces, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, or surgery to treat tendinitis.

Causes of Hip Pain When Sitting


Osteoarthritis, one of the most common types of arthritis, is a chronic condition caused by the breaking down of cartilage, which allows the bones to rub together.

Those who suffer from osteoarthritis report stiffness, loss or limited movement, and pain. Those who experience osteoarthritis in the hip area may also feel pain inside the thigh or knee, buttocks, or groin.

Your physician may recommend surgery, exercise, or weight loss to treat or relieve osteoarthritis pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis  

Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease, occurs when the immune system is compromised. In the hip, rheumatoid arthritis manifests as stiffness and swelling in the groin, thigh, or hip. Sufferers also report feeling pain in those areas.

Your physician may recommend topical pain relief products like patches, pain and anti-inflammatory medication, rest and exercise, or hot and cold treatments to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Posture, sitting position  

Sometimes, hip pain is caused by something as simple as an incorrect posture or sitting position. Regularly hunching over a desk or while walking can lead to hip pain. This is because sitting without proper support for the hips or the back increases pressure on the hips. When this area is repeatedly strained, it can cause pain over time.

Be conscious of your body when you sit. As much as possible, avoid sitting cross-legged or leaning over to one side. One side of your hips has to deal with the pressure of more weight, which results in hip pain.

Also, be mindful when sitting on an uneven and unstable surface, like a cushion that’s too soft. Doing so causes your body to tilt to one side, putting more pressure on one side of the hips. This added pressure leads to poor posture as well as pain in the hip area when sitting.

If you feel pain in the hips when sitting, please consult your physician as soon as possible. They can perform tests or scans to pinpoint the cause of the pain accurately. However, if there’s a good reason you can’t see your doctor right away, you can alleviate the pain by using a seat with ample back support, stretching regularly throughout the day, or getting a massage.

But if your hip pain gets worse or does not go away, do not delay consulting your doctor or prosthetist. The pain may be caused by a pinched nerve or an autoimmune disease.

We will make sure you have what it takes for a successful recovery. South Beach Prosthetics develops and provides comfortable, high-performance prosthetic solutions that meet all patient requirements in a compassionate and supportive environment with ongoing solutions and care.
Connect with us to learn more and schedule your complimentary consultation.
or find us on South Beach Prosthetics Facebook Page.

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