Introductory amputee care
Free online videos for new lower limb amputees
The Amputee Coalition of America (the ACA), of which Ossur is a Gold Sponsor, has produced a series of video demonstrations to help you learn to manage after a lower extremity amputation.
What is a prosthesis?
A prosthesis is your replacement limb. The prosthesis is made up of a number of parts. First comes a liner, which you roll on to your residual limb. Iceross silicone liners from Ossur are made of a soft, stretchy material that acts as an interface between the hard, weight-bearing socket and your skin.
As well as protecting your residual limb, the liner acts as an attachment to your prosthesis. After rolling on the silicone liner (usually known as "donning" the liner), you slide your residual limb into the hard socket. This socket is specially made to fit you and can be made out of a variety of materials.
The hard socket for an above-knee (transfemoral) prosthesis, has a knee joint connected to it. Below that is an aluminum or carbon fiber tube to which a foot module is connected. A below-knee (transtibial) prosthesis has the foot connected either directly to the hard socket or via a tube, depending on your height and the length of your residual limb.
After the prosthesis has been made and adjusted for your requirements, the cosmesis is made. A cosmesis is a cosmetic covering made of foam that is shaped to resemble your leg. A flesh-colored cover made out of nylon or other stretchable fabric is then pulled over the foam for a more realistic finish.
When will I receive a prosthesis?
Your doctor, physiotherapist and prosthetist will monitor your recovery. The first prosthesis will be made and fitted when they are satisfied with your progress and the condition of your residual limb.
Assembly and adjustment of the prosthesis can start between three and five weeks following your operation, but this varies significantly from clinic to clinic. It may be possible to start training with a temporary prosthesis, or what's known as an early walking aid, one week after amputation. Discuss this with your medical team.
The time it takes to learn to walk and function with a new prosthesis will vary depending on age, health and your previous walking ability. If your physical condition prevents you from walking, it is still possible to have a cosmetic prosthesis.
Once you have received your prosthesis, it is important to use it. If you do not use the prosthesis continuously, your residual limb could change shape and the prosthesis may not fit anymore.
You will have training regarding donning and doffing the liner (rolling it on and off) and for putting the prosthesis on and taking it off. It is important to feel confident with your new leg, so please ask any questions that you need answers to.
Contact your prosthetist if the hard socket or silicone liner does not seem comfortable, if you develop any wounds or skin problems due to friction, if you can feel any pressure points that are uncomfortable, or if some malfunction occurs.