Questions About Prostheses

POA uses lightweight materials such as aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber to make your prosthesis. Because we have an in-house laboratory, our technical staff can control such variables as weight and strength to individualize each prosthesis. This allows us to make your prosthesis as light as possible. Each will vary according to the size, weight and activity level of each person being fitted.

No. You will remove your prosthesis when you go to bed. If you are a new amputee, you will need to wear a shrinker when your prosthesis is off to keep your limb from swelling. Longer term prosthesis users will find it is no longer necessary to wear a shrinker.

Many different methods may be used to suspend your prosthesis. Because there are many options available, this will be a decision you and your prosthetist will make as the design of your prosthesis is developed.

The answer to this question differs for each individual. Many people drive cars and operate other machinery successfully with their prosthesis. As you might imagine, this is going to be different from what you are used to, which makes this an individual decision. Some people do not feel confident or comfortable using their prostheses to drive. Therefore, some people will have modifications done to their vehicles to suit their particular needs. There are many adaptations available that can be incorporated.

In almost every case, the answer is yes. In fact, many people return to the same kind of job they were doing before losing their limb, including construction work.In some instances, a career change may be required, but almost everyone who can function with a prosthesis can find a job that provides for their family and gives them a sense of purpose.

Prostheses vary in cost, depending on their design and functionality requirements. A prosthesis for someone with a higher amputation level will be more expensive than a prosthesis for someone who is missing less of their limb.

The sophistication of the components to be used also affects the cost. For example, a microprocessor controlled knee will be more expensive than a more simple hydraulic knee unit. For an upper limb amputation, a myoelectrically controlled prosthesis will be more expensive than a cable operated one.

Remember, these are custom fabricated medical equipment devices designed to replace what you have lost and, as such, are not inexpensive.

The good news is most major health insurance policies, including Medicare, help to pay for prostheses. Some state agencies may also help pay for your prosthesis.

Yes, all devices that we provide require a prescription from a doctor, but you will not need to have one before your first appointment. A prescription will be necessary for legal documentation as well as for any insurance used.

If you already have one, bring your doctor’s prescription, any medical insurance information and your current orthosis or prosthesis even if it is broken or no longer fits.

The time can vary greatly depending on the individual. The time is generally determined by the healing and shaping of your residual limb. Generally, when your stitches or staples are removed, your prosthetist will fit your residual limb with a special “shrinker” designed to control swelling. Also, the surgical wound must be sufficiently healed before fitting is initiated. Usually, this takes a few weeks.

Yes, therapy “gait training” is an important part of learning to walk properly with a prosthesis. Although your prosthetist will initially train you during the fitting process, you will need to spend time in therapy to become more proficient in walking. This time will vary according to each person and the type of amputation you have.

Your first prosthesis will fit appropriately for a few months, before you will need to be refitted. In most cases the need for a change is determined by the shaping of your residual limb. This initial period of use will ensure that your residual limb is properly stabilized and shaped for the next fitting.

No, most prostheses are not designed to be submerged in water. The few exceptions are prostheses that are specifically designed to be used in water. However, if your prosthesis gets damp from being caught in a rain shower, simply dry it off as soon as possible and it should be fine.

Almost everyone will use a walker, crutches or a cane to start off with and then progress from there.This is to help reduce full weight bearing on your leg and to assist with your balance. Over time, many people with below the knee and above the knee amputations do not use any type of assistive aid with their prosthesis. Age, amputation level, overall health, balance and your determination will all play a part in answering this question over the long term.

Yes. Your prosthetist will fit you with a prosthetic foot that should match the shoe size that you wear on your remaining foot.

You can wear a wide variety of different shoes with your prosthesis. But ideally they should all have a similar heel height. There are a few feet made that can accommodate for different heel heights if that is important to you. As an alternative, small heel wedges you can get from your prosthetist will allow you to adjust for small heel height differences. You will find that putting any shoe on the artificial foot will be more difficult than on your real foot. We recommend using a shoehorn.

Questions About Orthoses

A lace-up or velcro closure style shoe with a moderate heel height is generally recommended, but other styles can also be used successfully. The shoe should be large enough to accommodate both the brace and your foot, but in most cases a change in your normal shoe size is not necessary.

Your orthotist will discuss the appropriate wearing schedule with you when you receive your brace. You may be given either a verbal or written schedule that will detail periods of increased wearing times until you are able to wear the brace full time during waking hours.