Frequently Asked Questions
Amputees have many questions regarding care, prostheses, and more. We have listed some of the most frequently asked questions below. If you have other questions, or would like to explore this information further, please feel free to contact us, we are happy to help.
How soon after my amputation will I be able to walk?
That all depends on you, your health, your circulation and the number of post-operative complications you experience. A healthy person with good circulation and no complications may be ready for a temporary prosthesis 4 or 5 weeks after surgery.
When will I get my permanent prosthesis?
Once your limb volume has started to stabilize and you have made strong progress in your gait training you will be ready for your permanent prosthesis. This could take anywhere from three to six months after you have your temporary prosthesis.
Can I continue to play sports with my prosthesis?
Most people can continue to participate in sports with a prosthesis. It is important for you to review all of your goals with your prosthetist during the evaluation phase of your treatment. In doing so, your prosthetist can find the best solution to help you lead the life you want.
How will my prosthesis stay on?
There are many different suspension methods – you should discuss the best for your needs with your prosthetist. Some limbs are suspended using suction, sometimes assisted by a suspension sleeve. Suspension can be obtained from a pin mechanism attached to a roll-on liner, and some prostheses are attached using straps or extensions of the socket.
Will it hurt to walk with my prosthesis?
No. There may be an initial period when you are getting used to your prosthesis in which you may experience some discomfort. However, should pain persist, be sure to contact us immediately.
What kind of shoes can I wear with my prosthesis?
You can wear almost any shoe with your prosthesis. Be sure to bring the shoes you wear most often when you are fitted with your limb. The heel height will be the most important as most foot components only work with shoes of on heel height. It’s best to choose shoes that are lightweight and have non-slip soles. This is why athletic shoes are recommended.
How long should my prosthesis last?
Depending on the level and type of use, most components are designed to last from 2 to 4 years. If you are particularly hard on your prosthesis it may not last as long. Also, the socket is designed to last for 2 to 4 years. However, many sockets need to be replaced sooner due to changes in your residual limb or wear and tear on the socket itself.
I can still feel my toes even though my leg has been amputated. Is this normal?
This is called phantom sensation, and it is completely normal. In fact, most amputees experience it.
How do I wash my prosthetic socks?
Most socks can be machine washed and air dried. Be sure to read the care instructions on the socks you choose.
Should my skin be red when I take off my device?
Some redness is normal, but is should go away within 20 minutes of removing your device. If it is still red after that, or you notice other irritation when you inspect and cleanse your residual limb, contact us for a consultation of possible adjustment.
My device needs an adjustment. Do I need to get a prescription from my physician?
Probably not – adjustments that do not change the fundamental nature of the device do not require a prescription.
Can I take a shower or bathe with my prosthesis on?
Unless your prosthesis is specifically designed for swimming or bathing, you should not be showering with it. If you are not sure, please contact us before showering or bathing with the prosthesis.
How can I reduce the risk of amputation?
Practice good foot hygiene and care, especially if you are diabetic, don’t smoke and practice good safety habits when operating machinery (lawnmowers, etc.)
Are there increased risks for other health problems?
Limb Loss is more often the result of, rather than the cause of other health problems. Since the loss of a limb can result in decreased activity, the risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle may be increased. Residual limb and phantom pain, as well as skin problems associated with prosthesis use are also common.
Where can I find Managed Care, Medicare and other funding information?
Your patient advocate or the social services department at your hospital can assist you with finding appropriate funding resources. For further information you may contact:
The Amputee Coalition’s National Limb Loss Information Center Toll Free: (888)267-5669 Medicare Consumer Information 800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)