Prosthesis Artificial Limb

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What is a Prosthesis Artificial Limb?

Prosthetic Artificial Limb duplicates the function and appearance of a real leg and helps people with leg amputations to get around easily. Some might still need a cane, walker or crutches to walk with a prosthetic leg. There is a wide variety of prostheses that are designed to function like a natural arm, leg, hand, or foot. These include the following:

  • A socket into which the stump of the amputated limb will fit
  • The suspension, that holds the prosthesis to the stump
  • The shaft
  • The foot or hand
  • A covering for cosmetic appearances

The socket is lined with foam or silicone to protect the stump. Special socks should also be worn over the stump, to improve comfort.

What are the Types of Prosthesis Artificial Limb?

The following are some of the most common types of Prosthesis:

Lower leg and foot – After amputation below the knee, a variety of prosthetic feet are available to simulate the action of a natural foot. At least one available foot-ankle prosthesis will be controlled by a microprocessor. It will use feedback from sensors to adjust joint movement and make walking more efficient and reduce the risk of falling.

Leg with knee – For amputations above the knee, the prosthesis has both the knee and ankle joint. Currently there are above 100 prosthetic ankle, foot, and knee models. Some will use fluid or hydraulic-controlled devices that enable users to adjust their walking speed. Others use computerized parts that allow the user to make rapid adjustments while walking.

Arm and hand – The oldest and most commonly used prosthetic arm is operated by the body’s own movements and a harness that extends in a figure eight across the back and under the opposite arm. Others will use a rechargeable battery to run small motors in the prosthetic hand, as the battery will help to improve grip strength.

How to Choose Prosthesis?

A number of factors are involved in choosing a Prosthesis Artificial Limb, which include:

  • The location and level of the amputation
  • The condition of the remaining limb
  • Your activity level, especially for a prosthetic leg or foot
  • Your specific goals and needs

Prostheses are designed and fixed by a specialist called a prosthetist. The fixation procedure may begin shortly after the amputation, after the swelling has gone down and the incision is healed. This involves the following:

  • Measuring the healthy opposite limb and the stump
  • Fixing silicone liner
  • Making a plaster mold
  • Designing the socket
  • Forming the plastic parts and creating the metal parts of the limb
  • Attaching the shaft
  • Aligning the prosthesis

Depending on how well your wound is healing, you can begin to practice with your artificial limb, a few weeks after the surgery. A physical therapist will train you on how to use and care for it.

How to Maintain a Prosthesis Artificial Limb?

It is important to take care of the prosthesis and the amputation site by doing the following every day:

  • You must remove the prosthesis before going to bed and examine the device for loosening or damage. Examine the stump to check for blisters or irritation.
  • You must clean and put a small amount of lotion on the stump and massage the skin.
  • You must place a bandage on the stump to decrease the swelling when you are not wearing the prosthesis.
  • You must regularly inspect the skin of the stump to look for sores or wounds.
  • You must practice the exercises recommended by your physical therapist. These will include stretching, range of motion, body positioning, and endurance. 
  • You must wear proper fitting shoes for leg prostheses and never change the height of your heels. 
  • You must clean the prosthesis’ socket with soap and water.
  • You must wear clean dry socks with the prosthesis.

It is also important to maintain your body weight, which will help to fix the prosthesis properly. You should also have the prosthesis examined and serviced every year, to make sure that it is working properly.

Is it difficult to get used to a Prosthetic Leg?

Learning to get along with a prosthetic leg can be a challenge. Even after your initial rehabilitation is over, you may experience some issues that your prosthetist and rehabilitation team can help you manage. Some of the common obstacles may include:

  • Excessive sweating, which will affect the fit of the prosthesis and lead to skin issues.
  • Changing residual limb shape – This usually occurs in the first year after an amputation as the tissue settles into its more permanent shape, and can affect the fit of the socket.
  • Weakness in the residual limb, which can make it difficult to use the prosthesis for long periods.
  • Phantom limb pain could be severe enough to impact your ability to use the prosthesis.

Do you need rehabilitation after the selection of a Prosthetic Leg

After selecting your prosthetic leg components, you will need rehabilitation to strengthen your legs, arms and cardiovascular system, as you learn to walk with your new limb. You will work closely with rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists, to develop a rehabilitation plan based on your condition. The goal is to keep your healthy leg in good shape. 

Do you need to change your Artificial Prosthetic limb?

At some point, you will notice that you are not as functional as you should be with your current Prosthetic limb. It could be that you have “outwalked” your prosthesis by moving more than the prosthesis is designed for, which can cause pain and discomfort and lack of stability. These are some signs that it may be time to check with your prosthetist to re-evaluate your needs. Your prosthetist may recommend adjusting your current equipment, it is important to take the time to understand how they work. Physical therapy will help you to adjust to the new components or your new prosthetic leg. 

Prosthetic limb Technology Is Evolving: 

There will always be new developments in prosthetic limb technology, such as microprocessor-driven and activity-specific components. 

  • Microprocessor joints feature computer chips and sensors to provide a natural movement. They may even have different movements for walking on flat surfaces or walking up and down the stairs. 
  • There are specialized prosthetic legs for different activities, such as running, showering or swimming, which you can switch to as per your requirement. At times, your everyday prosthetic leg can be modified by your prosthetist to serve different purposes.   
  • Osseointegration surgery is another option and this procedure involves the insertion of a metal implant directly into the bone, so there is no need for a socket. The prosthetic leg is fixed directly to that implant. While this procedure is not right for everyone and is still under study, it provides improved range of motion. 

It is important to remember that you are not alone in navigating the many different prosthetic leg options. Your health care team will help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and decide on the ideal prosthetic leg that matches your lifestyle.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an artificial limb called?

If you are missing an arm or leg, an artificial limb can replace it. It is called prosthesis and it can help you to perform daily activities such as walking, eating, or dressing.

What are prosthetic limbs made of?

A wide variety of materials are used to create the artificial limb, including acrylic resin, carbon fiber, thermoplastics, silicone, aluminum, and titanium. To create a natural appearance, a foam cover is applied and shaped to match the real limb.

What is the difference between prosthesis and prostheses?

One part of an artificial limb is called prosthesis, but multiple parts are called prostheses. This term will apply to any artificial limb, regardless of an upper or lower limb.

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