Techniques for Walking After the Installation of a Prosthetic Limb

We list out the essentials for those adjusting to a new prosthesis:

1) The patient should stand straight, and their waist and knee should be straight. Patient should not have the feeling of leaning forward or backward.

2) The origin of force on the load-bearing body should be evenly distributed. This means that after putting on the prosthesis, the area of the knee at the mouth of the prosthetic socket, including the lower part of the prosthesis, should have no obvious pain in any area, even if it is rubbed red, Even if there is a small amount of pain, it should be evenly distributed.

3) Testing the side of the ankle: Shake back and forth several times while standing with the prosthesis stable like a pillar. If it has a free range of forward movement, this is essential for going up and down stairs along with going uphill and downhill.

4) Walking depends mainly on the knee. However, if the residual limb is long, it swings along with the prosthesis, This will make one’s stride more stable and natural.

5) Pay attention to the level of the heel. When switching shoes, patient should try to maintain the initial height of the prosthetic device. If you have not mastered the techniques of self-adjustment to your artificial limb, do not easily change the level of the heel.

Visual methods: After putting on shoes, patient stands at a 90-degree angle. The prosthesis should be extended slightly forward, that is, the degree between the leg and foot should be about 80 degrees. This is more suitable for starting to walk.

Heel adjustment method: if the heel is low, the body will always feel like it is moving backwards. Walking and standing for a long time overstretches the knee, and it will feel painful after walking for a long distance. At this time, it is appropriate to thicken the heel with some thick moleskin (cut it into semi-circles roughly the size of half of the heel. You can use AB glue to make sure it sticks firmly and effectively). If the heel is high, then the body’s center of gravity will always involuntarily move forward. The knee obviously cannot stand up straight. At this time, the patient should replace their shoes for those with a lower heel.

In addition, the first suggestion is selecting a slightly larger-sized shoe that is easy to put on and take off. The second is that you should place more emphasis on choosing a shoe with a firm and wear-resistant sole. The part of a prosthetic limb most susceptible to wear and tear is the sole of its shoe, while the shoe’s instep is very durable.

Special Reminder:
All new prostheses are like when you buy new shoes. They are initially very hard, not particularly soft, and require breaking in. When you change into a new prosthesis, you obviously feel that the old one is better and easy to remove and put on. Therefore, please remember:

Do not wear a new prosthesis for travel (of course except for those new to prosthetic limbs). This is since the residual limb will change slightly over the course of several years (artificial limbs have a life cycle). The old and new prosthesis will have a certain degree of difference. Therefore, you cannot immediately adapt to the new prosthesis. Once leaving your house, when you feel there is some discomfort (such as painful rubbing), there is no way to avoid it, You will have to live with this pain until your residual limb adjusts to the new prosthesis.

After the installation of the initial prosthetic, the residual limb will atrophy rather quickly (especially if it is a recent amputation). Therefore, the patient should replace the first prosthesis within a year or two. It will reduce the patient’s economic burden if, when installing the second prosthesis, they can consider replacing only the upper half of the prosthetic socket. This will help maintain as much as possible of the parts other than the prosthetic socket. This will save a lot of money.

Three years later, the residual limb will become essentially fixed and unchangeable. The progression of atrophy will also become relatively slow, while the stump will change only slightly.

Adults with moderate daily activity (excluding growing children and adolescents along with strong laborers) can wear a prosthesis for 3-5 years without a problem.

In general, after the initial stage of adjustment, the patient has already become used to the prosthesis. There should not be any pain or discomfort during a long walk. Therefore, it is possible to naturally maintain a correct gait. In other words, the best situation is if the body shakes as little as possible while the patient is walking.

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