Thursday, February 2, 2017

A visit to the prosthetist

The day that I got my
first prosthetic device
I have had my leg for nearly two years, and really for the last year I have not needed to have anything done. My leg has performed extremely well since I got the rush 87 foot, and the new socket. However I have noticed recently that I am beginning to wobble when I walk and it is bad enough that everyone seems to notice. I am notoriously hard headed and a bit of a do it yourself kind of guy. I hate to have to take a car to a mechanic to get it repaired and the same thing applies to my leg. 

One thing to remember is that there is a reason for the division of labor in a civilized society. There are things that some people specialize in. Trash collectors know how to properly dispose of waste, the people in the DMV know how to make people wait, Transportation Managers [me] know how to get the things we need from the manufacturer to the market. The guy that knows how to change my oil and properly store the used waste oil that comes out and darn it, the guy that works on my prosthesis, he knows how to make it work better.

The difference between my sockets after
six months was amazing. 
As an amputee progresses through the first years of an amputation, the residual limb changes shape. First, the swelling goes down as the blood vessels begin to function in their new environment, and then the muscle starts to atrophy a little. The young amputee has a better ability to keep their muscle mass, as does the active adult. In many cases, the amputee may not be as active and the progression of atrophy is very quick, requiring visits more often. In my case, I am active and the progression was pretty slow, and I did not notice it as much. As a matter of fact it took my wife asking me why I was limping to notice. One of my co-workers is a fitness coach, and she was adamant that I take the leg down to get it adjusted.

My normal prosthetist was not available yesterday, but Sean was more than willing to look at it. Turns out I had a 7/8 inch discrepancy between my leg length. Also the socket itself, was far too deep. he had to cut down the wings and drill out a couple of small spots on the front, to help alleviate a couple of rub spots. We talked about the new Rush Rogue foot, and he is going to check and see if I can get a trial to check it out. Not that I am dissatisfied with my Rush 87, but as technology gets better, I would like to be on the leading edge of it.  I am really excited about this new foot, and can't wait until I can get one. 

The bottom line is this: If you are in pain, or discomfort in any way, go back and see the people that know what they are doing. Your prosthetist will do everything they know how to make wearing it a good experience. I wear mine close to 18 hours a day, seldom with any adjustments to how it fits. Talk to them about everything you deal with. They are a great resource. They might tell you something you don't know that will radically change the way you think about it.