Practice with a prosthetic limb starts at the rehabilitation ward or the day-care center. Physical therapists (physiotherapists) help with balance training and walking, using parallel bars for support. When a level of confidence is reached with the parallel bars, a Zimmer frame is then used to help people walk. Eventually, walking up and down stairs and across uneven surfaces is practiced.
The occupational therapist will help and advise on how to maintain hygiene and getting dressed and undressed. He or she will also assist with aids to make life easier, such as a wheelchair, shower chair and whatever else is needed in the home. The occupational therapist may visit patients at home to see what is required and what practical changes might be helpful.
A counselor can usually provide information about available resources, any benefits that patients may be entitled to and the rights of an amputee.
Care of the residual limb
It is important to examine your skin often. Clean the residual limb in lukewarm water every night. Use a moisturizer that the medical team has recommended (such as Clean and Simple from Ossur) and leave the moisturizer on the skin overnight. If possible, don't use the prosthesis again until the next morning.
If the residual limb feels too moist in the morning, decrease the amount of lotion used or switch to another with a lower fat content.
To preserve the shape of the residual limb it is important that you use the liner even when you are not using the prosthesis. However, to avoid blisters and eczema it is also essential to air the skin once or several times a day, depending on the circumstances.
Changes within the muscle and skin tissues continue well into the first year. Work closely with your prosthetist to keep the prosthesis fitting well while these changes occur.
Care of the silicone liner
It is important to keep Iceross silicone liners clean for hygienic reasons. Turn the liner inside out and wash the inside of the liner every day with mild soap and a cloth. Rinse thoroughly with water and leave to dry. Once dry, return the liner to its normal position and always store in this condition. Wash the outside of the liner also to remove dirt. When you are at home, the liner can be washed in a washing machine at temperatures of up to 60 oC.
After you have been discharged from hospital, you should receive appointments for follow-up visits. The frequency of these visits varies from hospital to hospital, so ask your doctor or prosthetist when you should come next. However, if you ever feel the need to see a member of the medical team between planned visits, do get in touch.
There are national associations of amputees in some countries and you can contact them for further information regarding your situation. Ask your prosthetist for the address and contact number.
If you have lost your limb due to a disease, diabetes for example, you may find there are national or regional associations that you can contact to get more information regarding your condition. Your doctor/consultant will be able to supply you with the address and contact number.
Other sources of information are libraries and the Internet. Please see our links page for other websites which may be of interest.