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Hello and welcome to our Help Page. This page has been designed as a helpful resource for amputees, their families and friends. Established over 4 years ago now the amputee forum has become one of the Internets most respected and active forums helping amputees and their families get good advice whenever they need it. There are over 60,000 active posts and over 1000 registered members to our AMPUTEE FORUM providing a vast volume of information and help. So go on, get yourself registered so you can chat with other amputees, swap tips and offer your support and advice. Information sharing is one of the most important areas of this site so please get involved and continue posting as it is your input that makes this resource one of the most valuable on the web for amputees.
Massage - The timing of the fitting of your first artificial limb depends on how quickly your residual limb heals. To assist the healing process start to massage your residual limb as soon as you can. This helps bring a fresh supply of blood to the area and encourages your limb to fight against any infection. Massage will also help relieve any pain you may have and can help reduce the swelling in addition to wearing a Juzo sock and also helps to prepare your residual limb for your first fitting of a new limb. Massage can be done with bandages on if necessary. Encourage your loved ones to massage you, it will help you all get used to the fact that the limb is missing and it's not the end of the world.
Prosthetist - Find a prosthetist who is qualified and as importantly one who listens. Everyone is different so communication is vital to get what you want from your limb. Give them a chance, if it's not right the first time don’t be afraid to go back and talk to them. Make sure you write down your questions and answers so you can refer to them when needed. Never put up with an uncomfortable limb and never ever give up and stick it in the cupboard accepting defeat.
Discipline, diet and exercise - Try not to be solely dependant on your physiotherapist. He/she may not always be available so it's important to be disciplined and do exercises each day at home in addition to seeing your physiotherapist. Keeping a healthy and stable body weight is vital. Limb reduction due to sudden weight loss will create socket problems, which may lead to discomfort. No exercise means atrophy (skinny leg). Try to get to your ideal weight for your health and stay there. ALWAYS EXERCISE.
A healthy diet is important. To help fight infection from within, take garlic and ginger. Fresh garlic in the diet is always the best but at the very least take it in capsule form. Try to eat less junk food and add more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet. Sugar is a big no-no; we feel it feeds bacteria that can hinder your limb from healing when it has infection. Use maple syrup in cooking as an alternative, it's much tastier and healthier.
Medical Insurance - A lot of people in the United States say that they are not covered by their medical insurance. Don't accept this without a fight. Ask your Doctor for a letter of medical necessity. When you have this letter the insurance company will have to justify why you can't have a limb.
Limb Patches - For sore patches on your limb it is highly recommended that you use Compeed blister plasters made by Coloplast. Apply the plaster to dry clean skin. They should be left in place until they lift off on their own, even in the bath/shower. They have been a life changer for me, the difference between wearing and not wearing my limb when I have been overdoing it. Compeed blister plasters are available from most UK chemists. In the USA look for 'Band Aid Blister Block Cushions'.
If you have a patch on your limb that is leaving red marks from too much pressure, mark it with a pen when you remove the limb so that your prosthetist will know exactly where the socket needs adjusting. If you do not mark it then you will not be able to tell them where the exact spot is and they may adjust the wrong area. Marking is especially important if you cannot wear the limb to the clinic itself.
Ask your prosthetist about fitting you whilst standing up with the jig system. When you are wearing your leg you will most likely be standing which will change the shape of your limb from the sitting position.
Limb Care - Always take care of your limb. You should wash and dry your residual limb at least once per day, and use clean limb socks whenever you do this. You may need to do this more often if you are physically active. Never use spirit or talc on your residual limb as this will act as an irritant when you wear your limb. You can use a moisture cream on your residual limb if you find it too dry, do this at night when you're not wearing your limb otherwise you will find it may slip off, especially when wearing a silicone liner or silipos liner.
Research - A Be ready to find out information for yourself, you cannot rely on Doctors to inform you of everything you will need to know. The Internet is the best tool for this. You can find everything from limb components to support groups via the Internet. A couple of really good sites to start you off are:
Why not bookmark these sites as they are constantly updated with technology changes.
Join a support group, it is very good to meet up with other amputees. They will have experienced similar problems to you. Listen to each other, this way you can find solutions to shared problems. If you don’t have a problem maybe you can help someone who does.
Cutting down limb socks - If you do not like the sight of the limb socks showing when you have your limb on, cut them down. This is best done with the limb on, as you need to trim around the shape of the top of the limb. Get a family member or a friend to do it for you whilst standing or make a pen-line on the sock around the shape of the limb then take it off and cut it down. When your residual limb shrinks, and in between socket fittings, don’t add too many full length limb socks, cut some in half as the end of your limb is most likely to be the area that has reduced, not your knee area. This way you will have fewer problems squeezing your limb into the oversized socket.
Educating the ignorant - When people stare at you, it is usually because they are ignorant as to what has happened to you. Ignorance can breed fear. Talk to them and explain what happened to you. A sense of humour is vital. We all have a role of educating those less knowledgeable than us.
Set Yourself Goals - Be confident, think positively and set yourself goals. They only need to be little ones to start with i.e. standing up with your new limb on. When you achieve one, set another. You will be surprised at how quickly you achieve those goals. Remember that it doesn’t matter how often you “fall down”. It’s how often you get up that counts.
Good Luck and keep in touch...
There's a whole lot of blue sky out there and remember you are great!