Losing an arm to amputation is incredibly traumatic. You're probably really excited to be fitted for a prosthesis, and indeed, getting a prosthetic arm can be life-changing for many amputees. However, to avoid surprises, there are some things you really should know before you get a prosthetic arm.
1. You'll need to learn how to use it.
Today's prosthetics are incredibly "intelligent," reacting to your neural impulses and moving accordingly. But even with this advanced technology, you can't just strap on the arm and start using it like you would a normal arm. You will have to learn how to use the arm, and this can take longer than patients expect. You'll work with an orthopedist and sometimes a physical therapist to slowly gain control of the prosthetic arm. After a week or two, you'll probably be able to perform most gross motor functions, but finer functions, like tying knots, can take a considerable amount of practice. It's worth sticking to it, though, so don't give up if the first few days of prosthetics lessons are tough.
2. You may need more than one arm for different functions.
Your doctor will generally fit you with the type of arm they think is the best fit for the sort of activities you do on a daily basis. For instance, someone who works in a kitchen may need a different type of arm than someone with a desk job. Over time, though, don't be surprised if you end up requiring more than one type of prosthetic for various purposes. For instance, you might have one prosthesis you use for playing sports and another one you use around the house. Prosthetics companies are continually making more and more specialized options to suit individuals' needs.
3. You might get sore at first.
The skin on your residual limb may still be a bit tender. It is definitely not as calloused as the skin of someone who has worn a prosthesis for years. So, you'll want to ease your way into wearing the prosthesis by starting with just a few hours a day. Even with this precaution being taken, you might develop some irritation on your residual limb. The best thing to do in this case is take a break from wearing your prosthesis and let it heal. The skin will heal back stronger, giving you more protection when you go back to wearing the prosthesis.
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect, go ahead and enjoy that new prosthesis! You deserve it.Share
27 August 2021
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