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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. Info@SouthBeachOP.com


Reference: [https://amputeestore.com/blogs/amputee-life/what-you-need-to-know-about-prosthetics-as-a-new-amputee]

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.


Reference: [https://www.verywellhealth.com/desensitization-exercises-2696171]

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.

Symptoms

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!


Reference: [https://www.verywellhealth.com/spotlight-on-phantom-pain-2564569]

 

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  

Sciatica  

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.

Bursitis  

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.

Tendinitis  

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  

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.
Info@SouthBeachOP.com
or find us on South Beach Prosthetics Facebook Page.

Reference: {https://amputeestore.com/blogs/amputee-life/6-possible-causes-of-hip-pain-when-sitting}

Unparalleled Service. We’ll tell you why

When we say we stand with you, we mean it. It’s not a catchy slogan. It’s our promise. You’re facing a whole new approach to life and have a lot to learn. But you can do it. And we’re here to help.

We know you’ll need proper, professional, consistent, and constant support.

We will get you on the right road to recovery, and we’ll also put you on the fast track to regaining your independence. Other healthcare providers conclude their services after a certain point in your journey. Our Care teams are there for you, for as long as you need them, and often for longer! With our team by your side and at your service, your lifetime support group gets bigger! Whatever your needs are, and however they change, we are there every step of the way. Our patients become a part of our family. We honestly care about your health and wellbeing. We honestly care about you.

Unparalleled Services

We have the latest and greatest when it comes to engineering a prosthetic device as unique as you.

Seriously! The prosthesis we create is an extension of you. We measure, design, manufacture, and fit it to suit your specific comfort and function, with you involved throughout the process. There are no cookie-cutter devices that come out of our lab. Not only will your prosthesis meet your needs, but it will exceed your expectations. We strive to do that with everything we provide!

We understand that everyone who is involved needs to be on the same page.

A harmonized and cooperative community will serve you best, so we coordinate with all of the people who are helping out with your rehabilitation. We become the hub through which all communication flows, so everyone is aware of how you’re progressing and collaborating accordingly. You don’t need to feel like a parrot telling different people the same thing!

Unparalleled Service in florida

We’re not only here for you, but we’re there for you, too.

Our healthcare teams are fully mobile and equipped to meet at your convenience in the comfort of your home. We never forget that this is all about your journey, and your ability to focus on getting back to doing the things you love, so we try to make everything else easier for you! Not only that, but we’ve expanded our mobile service to include transporting you where you need to go! If you have a hospital or doctor appointment, need to go for a rehabilitation session, visit an outpatient clinic, or get to a nursing home, you have a chauffeur! Our complimentary shuttle service will deliver you safely and punctually to your destination. Given the current situation with the coronavirus, we have taken extra precautions to ensure our environments are sanitized and clean, and that includes our vehicles. This is not available in all of our areas – but three to start – and we are ever-growing!

Since we started, we have never lost sight of the fact that we are providing assistance and support to individuals who have unique stories, different needs, and special characteristics. So we get to know you for who you are, and not what happened to you. We will help you seamlessly adjust to your new normal, and you’ll have made a few new friends out of us along the way.


Let’s book you an
appointment!

We looking forward to meeting you.

To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (888) 819-4721, or fill out the form below with your preferred appointment time, and our staff will get back to you to schedule your appointment!

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