Prosthetic Rehabilitation

Prosthetic Devices - Using your new prosthetic device

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Custom Fit Prosthetics Replacement Prosthetic devices can be asthetically pleasing as well as comfortable.

Learning to use a Prosthetic Device

The Rehabilitation Team will determine readiness for a prosthesis based on the amputee's health status. The team must be assured that the stress of walking with a prosthesis will not cause additional problems that could lead to further health complications. This decision is usually made when the stump is well-healed at the suture line, when there are no other open lesions on the stump or intact foot, and when the swelling has been significantly reduced. Finally, the level of physical fitness must be determined for selecting the suitable type of prosthetic components. The physically fit who are very active and vary their cadence will need prosthetic components that allow them to change walking speeds and participate in recreational activities.

Prosthetics equal mobility

Others who are able to walk about the house or in parts of the community but cannot vary their speed of walking will receive a prosthesis designed for mobility with minimal effort. And for those who, for whatever reason, do not possess the physical ability to walk, a prosthesis may still be considered to help them and their caretaker with transfers or with getting in and out of the various rooms in the house. The goal of any prosthetic rehabilitation program is to assist the amputee from the time of surgery to successful prosthetic ambulation as quickly as possible and without complication. This is a team effort and requires participation by all the members, including the person who lost the limb. When the rehabilitation team works together, the time to prosthetic fitting can be relatively quick, barring any complications. Rehabilitation begins the day after surgery and for most becomes a part of everyday life. As frustrating as that can be for some, the truth is that the sooner the reality of limb loss is embraced, the sooner an amputee can get back to life. In the words of Dr. Heartsill Wilson, "God has given me this day to use as I will ... what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it!"

Robert S. Gailey, PhD, PT, is an assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, Division of Physical Therapy. He has authored over 40 publications and lectured around the world on a wide variety of topics related to prosthetics, amputee rehabilitation and sports medicine for athletes with disabilities.

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