People who have undergone leg amputation can use prosthetic legs, which mimic the function and appearance of a real leg, to enhance mobility and quality of life. With the right information, you can make a wise decision for your condition or help your loved one find a solution for their pain.
Above-the-Knee Prosthetic Types
Here are the common types of prosthetics for above-the-knee amputees:
What Type of Prosthesis Replaces the Leg Above the Knee?
Individuals who require an above-knee prosthesis (known as a transfemoral prosthesis) typically receive a personalized socket, a knee joint, a pylon, a foot, and a suspension system to hold the prosthesis in place. It's typical for patients to be fitted for a prosthetic a few days following the surgery.
After the above-knee amputation surgery, an Immediate Post-Operative Prosthesis (IPOP) will be provided to reduce swelling, protect wounds, and accelerate healing. To make the prosthetic more comfortable, an AK shrinker may also be used, which not only shapes the limb for the prosthetic but also desensitizes the limb in certain cases.
To ensure that the long-term prosthesis is the right type and fit for your needs, the process shouldn't be rushed. The following steps will be taken:
Above-knee prostheses consist of several components, such as the socket, knee joint, ankle joint, and foot parts. When starting the prosthetic fitting, patients typically receive a temporary prosthesis while their residual limb heals, shrinks, and changes shape over a few months. The prosthetic device can be customized to ensure a proper and comfortable fit for the individual's residual limb.
The following provides further details on how the various components of an above-knee prosthesis work in harmony:
Daily Activities with Above-Knee Prosthetics
To maintain the functionality of your prosthesis, it’s important to invest time in ongoing therapy and at-home exercises supervised by your doctor. Consistent effort can help improve your balance and coordination, and rehabilitation can take up to a year. Daily checks of the remaining limb for irritation, skin breaks, or redness are also essential.
A prosthetic does not mean you can’t have an enjoyable and productive life. Your doctor can advise you on what activities you can do at home, such as washing the remaining limb with soap and water. Depending on your individual case, you may even be able to drive or return to work as early as 4-8 weeks post-surgery, although full recovery may take longer.
1. How Do People with Above-Knee Prosthetics Walk?
Is walking normally with a prosthetic leg possible after an above-knee amputation? Since bearing weight is more difficult in this case and the risk of falling is higher, individuals typically use a wheelchair until their risk of falling is reduced. They work with a physical therapist to build strength and be fitted with short prosthetic training feet to aid in relearning balance.
The height of the prosthetic leg is gradually increased to build the necessary strength for a full-length prosthetic. With time and practice, you can progress to walking without any assistance devices.
2. How Far Can You Walk with a Prosthetic Leg?
The ability to walk after amputation and with a prosthetic limb varies depending on the individual's injury and healing process. While some people may experience fatigue or pain after walking short distances, others may be able to walk around as before the surgery.
3. How to Play Sports with a Prosthetic Leg
Various sports have distinct requirements, and people with prosthetic legs can engage in various activities. Some non-weight-bearing sports, such as cycling and swimming, are particularly popular. Others may enjoy activities such as walking, running, dancing, gardening, or practicing yoga. Consider exploring new activities beyond traditional sports.
4. How to Safely Fall with an Above-the-Knee Prosthetic
Mastering the art of falling can assist in preventing injuries for those who have prosthetic legs. Your physical therapist should guide you through the process of falling safely.
If you lose your balance, it's essential to let go of any walking aids and make your body flexible. Soften the impact using slightly bent elbows and roll to the side immediately to lessen the blow. You should also tuck your chin to your chest to prevent head injury.
5. How to Sit with Regular Above-Knee Prosthetics
To maintain proper posture while sitting with a prosthetic limb, keeping your shoulders back and your pelvis aligned underneath you is important. Aim your prosthetic limb towards the floor and let it hang naturally close to your other leg.
Tips to Feel Comfortable with a Prosthetic Leg
Adapting to a prosthetic leg can pose both physical and mental difficulties. The following are common obstacles to overcome:
Working with a licensed and certified prosthetist is essential if you need to get a prosthetic limb. Our team of experts will help restore your mobility and improve your quality of life. Reach out for questions regarding prosthetic limbs. Call us today, and we’ll be glad to help you.
A KAFO or knee-ankle-foot orthosis is a specially molded plastic shell with metal uprights and knee joints designed to provide corrective and supportive functions to the ankle, foot, and knee areas. It can improve posture, body alignment, mobility, and bone and muscle strength. It also increases independence and confidence levels in patients.
Whether you're a patient, caregiver, or healthcare professional, this post covers everything you need to know about KAFO, from its design and function to its benefits and limitations.
How to Put on a KAFO
Here is a simple process for putting on a KAFO:
Although KAFOs are designed to be worn for extended periods, they must be removed occasionally for activities like bathing, sleeping, and skin inspection. Proper KAFO removal technique is essential to prevent injury and ensure the long-term effectiveness of the device.
Follow these steps to remove your KAFO safely:
How to Take Care of Your KAFO
Ensuring the proper upkeep of your KAFO is crucial. To maintain it, use a damp cloth to clean and towel dry. Avoid exposing it to direct heat. If you notice any wear and tear on the hook and loop straps, linings, or padding, contact your orthotic facility for repair. Additionally, attend the clinic annually for knee joint service or as per your orthotist's instructions.
Types of KAFOs
KAFOs, or knee-ankle-foot orthoses, come in various types that cater to the diverse needs of patients. Different types of KAFOs available, each with its specific features and benefits.
1. Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs
Total Surface Bearing (TSB) or Thermoplastic KAFOs are commonly prescribed for patients with a flaccid or weak lower limb requiring full leg support. These KAFOs are custom-made from a mold of the patient's leg using a thermoplastic material that becomes pliable when heated.
The mold creates a socket that distributes pressure evenly over the leg's surface, reducing the risk of skin irritation or pressure sores. These KAFOs also provide medial and lateral support to the knee and ankle joints, making them an effective option for patients who need joint stability.
Here are some advantages of Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs:
Here are some potential disadvantages of Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs:
Stance Phase Control (SPC) KAFOs are designed to provide stability and control during the stance phase of walking. They are typically prescribed for patients with weakness or paralysis of the quadriceps muscle, which can cause knee buckling or collapse during weight-bearing activities.
SPC KAFOs use a combination of mechanical joints and spring mechanisms to provide the necessary support and stability for the patient. They are usually custom-made to ensure a proper fit and function for each patient's needs. SPC KAFOs are an effective orthotic solution for patients with gait abnormalities caused by quadriceps weakness or paralysis.
Here are s few advantages of SPC KAFOs:
Here are the main disadvantages of Stance Phase Control KAFOs:
Knee orthotics have the potential to greatly reduce pain and improve mobility, enabling individuals to maintain an active lifestyle. You can make wise decisions regarding treatment options with the information provided in this guide.
At Align Clinic, we strive to assist patients in selecting the most appropriate option for their needs. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you find an optimal solution for your knee pain.
A TLSO, or thoracolumbosacral orthosis, is a type of back brace used to limit motion and promote healing in the thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions of the spine. It's typically prescribed after surgery or for stable middle and lower back fractures and can also be used to correct lateral scoliotic curves. Proper use of the TLSO can help the patient maintain proper alignment and mobility during recovery.
Using a TLSO Brace
Bracing is based on the idea that increased weight on a particular area of a growing spine can inhibit its growth. A TLSO brace utilizes specialized pads placed in certain areas to apply pressure on abnormal curves, which helps slow their growth.
By controlling the progression and keeping the Cobb angle below 40 degrees, a patient may be able to avoid surgical interventions such as spinal fusion.
Typically, bracing is limited to the pediatric population as it's most effective for growing spines. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 with Cobb angles ranging from 20 to 40 degrees are often prescribed TLSO braces, typically pre-fabricated in a corset style using rigid plastic and available in small, medium, or large sizes.
In the US, the Boston brace is the most commonly used design. For bracing to be effective, the child is required to wear the brace for a minimum of 18 to 23 hours per day. The recommended duration of bracing is three to five years.
While wearing a TLSO brace underneath loose clothing is feasible, many adolescents may hesitate to wear one that restricts their movements throughout the day. The effectiveness of the brace heavily relies on consistent and prolonged usage.
Unfortunately, many teenagers choose to remove their braces as soon as they arrive at school, resulting in a substantial decrease in the success rate of the treatment.
How To Wear A TLSO Brace
If you've been prescribed a TLSO, brace for an injury or medical condition, it's important to know how to wear it properly. A TLSO brace is designed to provide support and stability to your thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine areas.
By following some simple steps, you can ensure that the brace effectively manages your condition or injury and is comfortable to wear throughout the day.
Here are some key tips on how to wear a TLSO brace correctly:
Removing a TLSO brace properly is important to prevent further injury or discomfort and ensure that the brace continues functioning as intended.
Here are the steps on how to remove your TLSO brace safely and comfortably:
Following some basic guidelines, you can prevent skin irritation and achieve the best possible results from your brace.
Here are some key points to remember when wearing a brace, including tips on how to safely apply it, how frequently to wear it, and how to check for signs of skin irritation.
To wear a brace for up to five years without the ability to bend the torso makes breathing difficult and exercise impossible. While wearing the brace, activities like dancing, sports, and even simple movements become a challenge.
The physical discomfort is compounded by the psychological harm of teasing and peer stares. Some teenagers feel that the risk of spinal surgery is not worth enduring the challenges associated with wearing a brace.
While a brace can prevent scoliosis from worsening, it doesn't correct the Cobb angle, meaning that misalignment is still present after removing the brace.
That can cause scoliosis to wear out the discs in the spine more quickly, resulting in an increased Cobb angle. Although wearing a brace has a 75% success rate in preventing surgery, one in every four patients will still require surgery.
A Cobb angle of 30 degrees is often the tipping point for whether or not scoliosis progresses to surgery in adulthood, with a high chance that it'll increase at least 10 degrees over time. Doctors may consider surgery for patients with 40-degree Cobb angles or higher.
While a brace can prevent surgery during the teenage years, as the teenager ages, the spine may deteriorate, potentially making surgery necessary despite the brace being considered "successful."
Making the Best Decision for Your Scoliosis Treatment
TLSO Braces can significantly reduce spinal pain, improve posture and help maintain an active lifestyle. With the correct information, you can decide about your treatment options.
At Align Clinic, we help you select the right TLSO Brace for your needs. Call us today and we'll guide you toward the best solution to your spinal condition.
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