Over 225,000 Canadians live with an amputation every day. Whether it is upper or lower limb loss, often people are fitted with prosthesis that will help them continue to have the freedom to do tasks that they are used to. The tasks may have to be done in a different way but anything is possible with a plan with your healthcare team, including your Prosthetist. If your amputation is new, you might be asking yourself how you will continue to do the things you did before the amputation.
If you exercised or not before your amputation, you may want to learn some form of exercise with your new prosthesis. Some ideas might be swimming, cycling, hiking or getting a membership at the gym. The first step is to talk to your Prosthetist to find out if a special prosthesis is needed.
If getting back to the gym or starting at the gym is one of your goals, often a specialized prosthesis is not necessary. Once you are fitted with your prosthesis, your Physical Therapist will help you to learn how to walk or run with your prosthetic if you have a lower limb loss.
If independence is a goal of yours after an amputation, driving might be an important step. There are many companies who can customize your vehicle to make sure you can safely drive your vehicle. Adjustments such as hand controls or spinner knobs, changing the accelerator pedal to left foot or even a wheelchair hoist, if necessary, can be made to your vehicle. In some provinces, you may need to re-take your driver’s test to legally drive on the road. No matter what, if you want to drive after your amputation, it is absolutely possible.
Visiting the Beach
If you are a sunseeker and love the beach, no need to worry you can still visit the beach with your prosthesis. You may need to take a couple extra steps but there will still be plenty of time to have fun in the sun! Once you have been in the sand and water, you need to be sure you clean it thoroughly to make sure none of the water or sand settles in the mechanical parts of your prosthesis.
Taking a Shower or Bath
Although most prosthesis are not waterproof, they are available. When it comes to bathing, most of the time people with an amputation do not do it with their prosthesis on for a couple of reasons. One, it is not good for a prosthesis that is not waterproof to get wet on a regular basis. This can lead to damage and rust to the mechanical parts of your prosthesis. Two, it is important to keep your residual limb clean and if you are wearing your prosthesis in the shower it will not give you an opportunity to thoroughly clean your it. Not wearing your prosthesis in the shower may lead to additional challenges in mobility or completely a task. With advice from your Prosthetist and Physical Therapist you will find methods that will work for you to effectively bathe without your prosthesis.
These are just a few activities that may look different after an amputation but it is important to keep in mind, although the way you do tasks may look different anything is possible with a healthcare team you can trust.
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment at Winnipeg Prosthetics and Orthotics, please call 1-800-661-8777.