Lower Limb Prosthesis

What do I need to know about a lower limb prosthesis?

A lower limb prosthesis is a device made to replace all or part of your leg or foot. You will be fitted with your prosthesis when your wound has healed completely. Caregivers will help you learn to walk with the prosthesis and improve your balance. Caregivers can teach you special exercises to help increase your strength. They will also help you learn new ways to do your daily activities.

What are the types of lower limb prosthesis?

All types of lower limb prosthesis include a foot and socket. The socket is the part of the prosthesis that connects to your stump (the end of your lower limb). There are different styles or designs of prosthesis based on where your limb was amputated. A prosthesis is made for your height, weight, and level of activity. You also may have a prosthesis made for activities or sports, such as dancing, swimming, cycling, golfing, and climbing.

  • Foot or partial foot prosthesis: This replaces the part of your foot that was removed. The ankle part may be bendable to help you move easier. The foot may also have rubber grips to decrease the risk of slipping.

  • Below-the-knee prosthesis: This has a shin made of a metal tube with a socket on top to connect to your stump. It connects to the artificial foot and ankle at the bottom.

  • Above-the-knee prosthesis: This type of prosthesis is made with a thigh, knee, shin, foot, and ankle. It is made of a metal tube with a socket on top to connect to the stump. The knee part of the prosthesis is bendable for walking, sitting, and kneeling.

How should I care for myself when using a prosthesis?

  • Check your stump daily: Look for redness, blisters, or swelling. If you see any of these changes, stop using your prosthesis and contact your caregiver right away. Stop using the prosthesis and tell your caregiver if it causes pain.

  • Clean inside the socket daily: You may use a damp soapy cloth to remove sweat and dirt, then a clean damp cloth to remove the soap. Dry the socket well with a dry cloth.

  • Wear your prosthesis as directed: You may need to wear your prosthesis all the time during the first few months after you get it.

  • See your caregiver regularly: Go to follow-up visits with your caregiver so he can check your progress. Your prosthesis may need to be adjusted several times before it fits well. Tell your caregiver if you have problems with how it fits. Never try to fix or adjust your prosthesis on your own.

What are the risks of a lower limb prosthesis?

A poor fit may cause extra stress or pressure on your stump or your other leg. The increased pressure can lead to pain and skin problems. Skin problems that are not treated can become infected. Over time, there is a risk that you could need another amputation.

Where can I find more information?

  • Amputee Coalition
    900 E. Hill Ave, Ste 290
    Knoxville, , TN 37915
    Phone: 1- 888 - 267-5669
    Web Address: www.amputee-coalition.org

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have problems using your prosthesis, such as trouble moving, walking, or running.

  • You have trouble attaching or removing your prosthesis.

  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have pain or swelling around your stump, especially after using your prosthesis.

  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.

  • Your prosthesis gets damaged.

  • The skin on your stump turns blue or white or it feels cold, numb, or tingly.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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