Nobody walks out of their house one day expecting to lose a limb. Most of us never imagine it. So, when it happens, amidst all the pain and frustration, the disappointment and recalibration of our lives, we also have questions to deal with—about our future, our mobility, and our ability.
At Above & Beyond Orthopedics, we meet a lot of people at this exact moment in their lives. After the hospital and a period of time spent grieving at home, recent amputees open our doors in their search for a way forward.
Thanks to modern advancements and decades of scientific research about human movement, the field of prosthetics is better equipped than ever before. But you may have some questions before you come to see us. Thankfully, we have answers.
Prosthesis FAQs – Starting Your Path to Recovery
As a woman- and minority-owned local business, we understand how hard it can be to dust yourself off, push yourself up, and look a challenge straight in the face. If you’re hurting, confused, or just curious about next steps, call us at (313) 631-1296 today or contact us online.
In the meantime, here are some answers to your burning questions about life with a prosthetic limb.
What’s the difference between “prosthetic” and “prosthesis?”
Technically speaking, the term “prosthetics” applies to the field as a whole. Research, design, and engineering are all aspects of the “prosthetic field.” A “prosthesis” is a single, artificial limb, which can also be called a “prosthetic device.” Collectively, these devices are called “prostheses.”
What kind of prosthesis do I need?
The type of prosthesis that you need depends on the extent of your limb loss. Prostheses exist to replace some, most, or all of a limb.
For lower extremity prostheses, there are:
- Below the ankle (Syme’s prosthesis)
- Below the knee (transtibial prosthesis)
- Through the knee (knee disarticulation or T.K.)
- Above the knee (transfemoral prosthesis or A.K.)
Upper extremity prosthesis varieties are categorized by the type of functionality you’re looking for. From purely cosmetic to battery- and body-powered, upper extremity prosthetic devices include:
Passive Prosthesis – Cosmetic & non-functional
- Body-Powered Prosthesis – Muscle contractions operate a gripping hand
- Myoelectric Prosthesis – Electric signals from nearby or distant muscles power a gripping hand
- Others – Hybrid options, alternative power sources, and specialized varieties
Are prosthetic limbs comfortable?
At the end of the day, the best prosthesis is only as good as your willingness to use it. Uncomfortable or even painful prosthetic limbs will discourage use over time, rendering them less than helpful in restoring mobility and ability to your daily life.
Thankfully, at Above & Beyond Orthopedics, we have the sockets, liners, and accessories you need to ensure comfortable daily use. Sockets embrace your residual limb to limit pinching or discomfort while liners serve as a softer barrier. Often made of silicone, gel, urethane, or thermoplastics, liners can make a world of difference in long-term usage.
All new things require an adjustment period. If you’ve started wearing a prosthesis that isn’t comfortable or causes you pain, you may just need a better socket and liner.
Can I still be active with a prosthetic device?
Absolutely. Despite what you’ve seen on TV, modern prostheses are far more advanced than the older varieties used as fodder for bad comedy. 21st-century prosthetic devices come in all shapes and sizes and can even be customized to support your favorite activity.
There are carbon fiber blades for runners, flippers for swimmers, and even microprocessor-assisted lower extremity devices that can learn your walking patterns (gait) and adjust to meet them automatically. Smart prosthetic devices know when you’re sitting, starting to stand, or just bending down, and can move on their own to assist you with whatever you’re doing.
The loss of a limb isn’t the loss of your life. Modern devices can do nearly anything you want.
Reclaim Your Life & Your Mobility with Above & Beyond Orthopedics
Unfortunately, we still haven’t mastered the science behind regrowing lost digits or extremities. One day in the near future, we may unlock the ability to restore our natural limbs. For now, we have the next best thing: 21st-century polymers and intelligent microprocessor technology combined with myoelectric and body-powered gripping limbs.
For all your prosthetic needs, there’s Above & Beyond. Proudly serving Grosse Pointe, MI, and the greater Metro Detroit area, we’re here to help you whenever and however you need us so that you can get back to life as you know and love it.
Find the Guidance & Prosthesis You Need at Above & Beyond
As is often said, it’s not how we get knocked down that defines us, but how we get back up instead. But sometimes, we need help to stand up with our own power again. If you’ve lost a limb or are looking to upgrade your current prosthesis, let Above & Beyond give you a helping hand. Visit us today to learn more about our prostheses, sockets, liners, and accessories, or contact us online.