Crutches are not just an extra appendage anymore. New ergonomic and anatomical designs, lightweight materials, colors, crutch tips and grips, and more have made crutches more user friendly, functional and convenient.
For all amputees (and their families) both new and not so new, whether they are amputees by birth or as a result of an accident or disease have questions from time to time. These questions can have a variety of subjects. Here are a few:
Choosing the right prosthetist is a very personal one. Firstly you must know that it is your right and responsibility to choose, so ‘shop around’. We recommend having an interview - a consultation - with anyone and everyone you wish. Do your homework! Make sure this person is: A. Certified in his/her field. B. Ask for references! Nothing beats an opinion from an existing client. C. Try to determine if this person & their facility is a ‘good fit’ for you. How do you feel during and after your consultation?
A good prosthetist will work with you to determine what components are appropriate for you, your life style, amputation, age and other factors. Firstly, you need to convey what you want, what you want/like to do, type of work/activities, etc. This information is critical to your provider in order for him/her to make the best possible recommendations.
This largely depends on the individual and what type of work it is. Generally, being an amputee does not interfere with most jobs. If it does, then the tailoring of the proper prosthesis can often bridge that gap. Sometimes Occupational Therapy or retraining is required. One of the biggest components is desire – the drive to resume and get on with life!
This is a loaded question! No one has a crystal ball. However, there are some common factors which should be addressed:
One is energy consumption. Leg amputees in particular use considerably more energy than their ‘fully-limbed’ counterparts. Regardless of the level, the additional requirements must be taken into account. Nutrition, fitness levels, etc. all need to be addressed.
Secondly, weight gain & loss is of critical importance. If at all possible, and to avoid any difficulties in this area, try to keep your weight stable. Initially there will be residual limb atrophy, but this will stabilize with time and wearing products like shrinkers and elastic bandages.
Thirdly, as we age there are other issues like muscle tone, weight & height loss. There are a few things that one can do to counteract ‘Mother Nature”, but not always. The main thing is to take care of yourself and see your GP at least annually!
Many support groups and web sites are ‘out there’ for and by amputees. Some are listed within this web site under Amputee Resources. Depending on where you are geographically, the choices vary. Here in the ‘Lower Mainland’ there is one amputee support group at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre . In addition, there is now an Amputee Re-Entry Centre in Richmond located at 10080 # 3 Road. As additional groups are formed, they will be posted in the Amputee Resources section.
In addition, as part of the Amputee Coalition of BC, peer visits can be arranged. This is how it works: when an amputee, or a member of their family, would like to schedule a visit with someone who has had similar experiences, they are matched up with a person trained & best suited to conduct a visit. It is handled in a totally neutral manner, politically correct & unbiased. This is a terrific way to learn, to share, to pass on experiences & knowledge and to educate.
There are many ‘perks’ that come with being an amputee! Yes, there is something positive! For example, you may be eligible for a discount on your ICBC car insurance, financial considerations on your Federal Income Taxes with the /Disability Tax Credit/, retraining possibilities to rejoin the work force in a new field, gas tax rebate, etc. Again, see ‘Resources’ page for more perks…
The design and fabrication of each prosthesis is all done ‘on site’. So, depending on the choices made during the first visit/consultation and the availability of the components, the normal turn around time is about 10 working days. Many factors play a part in the timing. The ordering and shipping of components are elements to consider. Your own time commitments need to be taken into account as well. This is a collaborative process and your time is one of those critical factors which you must be willing to contribute. Within limits we can tailor the work to your particular circumstances. We strive to be as accommodating as possible.