“It’s just incredible to look down and see two feet again. When you learn to walk as a kid, you don’t even think about it. This time around, it’s pretty special.”
Once the surgical site is healed, the physician will prescribe an initial, or preparatory prosthesis. A prosthesis is composed of two main components: the socket and the components attached to the socket.
The socket is the portion of the prosthesis that the affected limb fits into. The socket is custom made based on a mold of the individual’s affected limb.
Other components, such as a prosthetic knee, ankle/foot, or upper limb components, are attached to the end of the socket.
The Bio-Tech prosthetist will work closely with the individual to understand his or her goals and daily activities, which help determine the most appropriate components. The individual’s daily environmental barriers, overall body weight, anatomy, and stage of rehabilitation, are additional factors that help determine component selection.
The below knee, or transtibial, prosthetic limbs in this image include two different socket designs and feet manufactured by Otto Bock, a manufacturer of prosthetic components. There are many different manufactures and a wide variety of knee, ankle, foot and upper limb components.
Wearing Schedule for the Initial Prosthetic Limb
Starting the day right.
If the affected limb is allowed to hang down unsupported, it may swell. When the prosthesis is not worn, we recommend that the individual keep the affected limb supported and elevated as much as possible. Wearing a shrinker sock when the prosthesis is not worn may also reduce help prevent swelling.
Checking the affected limb often.
We also recommend for the initial prosthesis to be removed several times throughout the day, so that the individual can look for areas of irritation. If any persistent redness occurs, our clinic should be contacted as soon as possible.
Gradually increasing use.
Wear time for the initial prosthesis can be increased gradually. The wearing schedule below is one way to prevent ‘over doing it’ in the early stages of rehabilitation. Wear times may vary from person to person. Bio-Tech prosthetists provide each individual with a unique wear schedule.
1st week: 15-20 minutes per hour (2 hours per day)
2nd week: 30-45 minutes per hour (4 hours per day)
3rd week: 45 minutes – 1 hour with a 15 minute break (8 hours per day)
The initial prosthesis is referred to as ‘initial’ because the user’s affected limb will reduce in volume in the weeks and months following the fitting of the initial prosthesis. Eventually, the affected limb will stabilize in shape and size. At that time, typically 3-12 months after the initial fitting, the initial socket will no longer fit the limb. The individual will likely have increased in his or her activity level and independence. It is at this time that the physician and Bio-Tech prosthetist may assess the need for a definitive prosthesis. A definitive prosthesis will consist of a new socket, based on a new mold of the affected limb, and often includes components designed for a higher activity level.