Lower Limb Prosthetics

    Level of Limb Loss

    As you begin your amputation journey, you will work closely with a prosthetist. Prosthetists are trained in the design, fabrication, and fitting of artificial limbs (prostheses). It is important that you communicate to your prosthetist your goals, expectations, and concerns. This way they can address your specific needs. If possible you should meet with your prosthetists before your surgery to prepare for the journey ahead of you. Your prosthetist will work closely with your physician and rehabilitation team to monitor your health and ensure you are meeting your expected milestones.

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    Below the Knee:

    A below-knee (BK) limb loss, or transtibial amputation, is the amputation or absence of the leg below the knee. A BK prosthesis will typically consist of a custom-made socket, a pylon, a foot, and some means of suspending the prosthesis to the body. The shape and size of your limb will change a great deal in the first six months after an amputation because of this your prosthetist will make you an initial prosthesis. This initial prosthesis usually does not have an skins on them making it easier to adjust the socket size until your residual limb stops shrinking and you reach a steady level of activity.

    Above the Knee:

    Above-knee (AK) limb loss, or transfemorla amputation, is the amputation or absence of the leg above the knee. Individuals with an amputation above the knee usually begin the prosthetic fitting process several weeks after surgery, although this can vary from person to person. An AK consist of a custom-made socket, a knee, a pylon, a foot, and some means of suspending the prosthesis to the body. Your prosthesis will be custom fit to you and your lifestyle needs. The shape and size of your limb will change during the first six to twelve months after amputation. Your prosthetist will manage your changes and teach you when to wear additional layers of socks over your limb or add extra padding to ensure your socket fits correctly.

    Foot or Partial Foot:

    The amputations of the foot, partial foot, or toes is most likely caused by complications from diabetes. In other cases, some or all of the foot maybe amputated as a result of injuries. Amputations at this level are typically planned in advanced, you can often speak with your care team to understand your options as they relate to future prosthetic treatment. Once your limb has healed, and rehabilitation begins, you could be fitted for a prosthetic that will support balance and mobility.

    At the Hip:

    Amputations at or just below the hip are known as:

    • Hemipelvectomy
    • Hip Disarticulation
    • Transpelvic Amputations

    These are most commonly caused by trauma, cancer, or severe infection. The most important thing when dealing with these types of prosthesis is the design of the socket. You want to ensure that it is comfortable, does not interfere with bodily functions, and properly supports your body weight. The prosthetic hip joint of your prosthesis will be placed near the front of your body allowing you to keep your weight behind the joint and reduce the likelihood of falling.

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