Prosthetic Devices and Preventing Sores

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Stay healthy and pain-free by preventing sores before they happen.

Stay healthy and pain-free by preventing sores before they happen.

 

A well-fitted prosthetic can make or break someone’s comfort with their device. To first and foremost prevent discomfort and sores with your prosthetic device, consult Premier Prosthetics for a custom device that is fitted just for you.

However, if you are experiencing discomfort and are developing sores at the end of each day with your prosthetic device, check out these 6 tips for preventing pain and skin irritation.

  1. Avoid changing the way you carry yourself. Adjusting to a prosthetic will completely change the way you walk, but once you have an established way of walking or standing that is comfortable, stick with it. Avoid activities that force you to stand or walk in awkward positions that make your prosthetic uncomfortable.
  1. To prevent irritations and infections, wash the skin that comes in contact with the prosthetic and the socket of the prosthetic every day with antibacterial soap.
  1. Our body part sizes change throughout the day based on activity level, food intake and even the weather. To deal with this, try adding or removing socks or liners until the fit feels better.
  1. Work to maintain a stable body weight. Even slight changes in body weight can affect how your prosthetic fits, so aim to stay at the same weight you were when you were fitted.
  1. Eating healthy and drinking plenty of water helps to control your body weight and keep the skin in your prosthetic healthy.
  1. If you have diabetes, monitor and control your blood sugar as recommended by your doctor to help keep the blood flowing to the skin around the prosthetic and keep it healthy.

Premier Prosthetics aims to fit each patient with a custom prosthetic device that fits them properly and comfortably. For more information on better fitting prosthetic devices, contact Premier Prosthetics today!

Preparing Children with Prosthetic Devices for a New School Year

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Ease your kids into the near school year to help them be as successful as they can be.

Ease your kids into the new school year to help them be as successful as they can be.

 

August is here which means that it is back-to-school season! For many kids, by this time each summer they are itching to go back to school, to see their friend’s every day and to be one grade older. However, kids with prosthetic or orthotic devices may have concerns or insecurities about returning to school. Premier Prosthetics wants to help your child get excited for school and feel comfortable in their own skin. Consider these tips before sending your child back to school this fall:

  1. Ensure that the classrooms, bathrooms, and playground equipment at your child’s school are safe and accessible for students with a prosthetic devices.
  1. Introduce your child to their new teacher before the first day of school. This way, both your child and your child’s teacher can get to know each other is a more relaxed setting. Inform the teacher of any difficulties that may arise and how to handle them. When the teacher is comfortable with the prosthetic device, the other students are more likely to follow suit.
  1. Prepare your child for questions and curiosity from other students about the prosthetic. Empower them with confidence to appropriately address questions and curiosity from others.
  2. If teasing does occur, encourage your child to inform their teacher or a trusted adult. Let them know it is not acceptable and they do not have to endure it. Encourage them to stay calm and that getting upset may only make the situation worse.
  3. Remind your child that everyone is different in some way. We are all made differently and have unique life circumstances that make us special. Think positively, act positively and positive things will happen!

Premier Prosthetics hopes these tips get you and your family excited and prepared for a new school year! As always, Premier Prosthetics is here for your prosthetic and orthotic needs and to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today!

National Golf Month: A Sport for Everyone

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Get out and play some golf this month.

Get out and play some golf this month.

 

Golf is a sport that nearly everyone can play and can be adapted for anyone who wants to try. That is why golf is a great option for those who use prosthetic and orthotic devices. This month is National Golf Month and Premier Prosthetics wants to take time this month to highlight how playing golf is possible for amputees and how amputees can benefit from playing golf.

Playing golf is possible for leg amputees by having a leg prosthesis where the torsion absorber and rotator allow you to pivot each time you swing the golf club. Golf also gives those with a leg prosthesis the option to walk the course if they desire or to use a golf cart if they are unable or do not wish to walk the course. There is even an option to play from a seated position. Arm prosthetic device users can choose to learn to play with just one arm or can acquire specific gear to help your prosthetic device attach to the club.

Playing golf also has many physical and mental benefits. Getting outdoors and moving your body is a great way to loosen up, use your muscles and get some exercise. The great thing about golf is that you can start wherever you are physically comfortable and build from there. Choosing to play golf and sticking with it can also be a confidence builder for many amputees. If you choose to play golf as a prosthetic device user, commit to getting better and stick with it when you get discouraged, you will eventually find success as a golfer.

Golf is a great sport to play for people of all ages and abilities. Seeing success in golf as a prosthetic device user simply starts with the want to give it a try. Premier Prosthetics here to support you with all of your prosthetic and orthotic device needs. Stop by or give us a call today!

5 Tips to Naturally Catch Some ZZZ’s as a Prosthetic Device User

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Get better sleep naturally starting tonight!

Get better sleep naturally starting tonight!

 

People struggle to get enough sleep each night for many different reasons. While a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is a part of a healthy lifestyle, so is getting enough sleep each night. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night can improve mood, focus, and restore energy.

More than 1.6 million Americans have some type of limb loss and many of these folks struggle to get a good night’s sleep each night. In today’s blog, Premier Prosthetics is bringing you tips on getting a better night sleep as a prosthetic device user.

  1. Take your daily shower at night rather than in the morning. Do not take a hot shower in the morning because the water can cause the limb to swell, and prevent the prosthetic from fitting correctly.
  1. If you are able, consider removing your prosthetic device before bed. Examine it for any cracks or potential problems as well as examine your skin for any irritation.
  1. Before letting your leg hang down from bed in the morning, which may cause swelling, put the prosthetic on first so it fits properly. As time goes on this will be less necessary.
  2. An above knee amputee should also never sleep with a pillow between their legs. This may cause the inner thigh muscle to lengthen and the outer thigh muscles to shorten, changing the way the limb lays when standing.
  1. Clean your residual limb before bed and then consider using a lotion that is approved by your practitioner to massage the area. What’s better than a good massage to help you relax?!

Getting a good night’s rest can help you feel better each day so you can continue to improve your outcome as a prosthetic device user. Contact Premier Prosthetics for any questions you have and for all of your prosthetic device needs.

The Special Language of Our Specialty

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Understanding the O & P language can help you get the most of visits with your prosthetist.

Understanding the O & P language can help you get the most of visits with your prosthetist.

 

Like our counterparts in other medical specialties, prosthetists and orthotists use a specialized vocabulary pertaining to the work they do. These terms tend to be confusing to some folks and Premier Prosthetics wants to help you understand some of the common O & P jargon.

It will come as a surprise to more than a few people that the word prosthetic is not a noun! It is correctly used only as an adjective, as in prosthetic rehabilitation. The proper term for what in past times was generally called an “artificial limb” is a prosthesis (pl. prostheses) …not a “prosthetic.” Similarly, an orthotic device is correctly termed an orthosis (pl. orthoses).

Adding further confusion to the discussion are the words prosthetics and orthotics, which are nouns, as they refer to the science and practice of providing prostheses and orthoses. (Prosthetics are not more than one replacement limb, nor are orthotics two or more orthopedic braces.)

And finally, the individuals who provide prostheses and orthoses: An orthotist is a practitioner who measures, designs, fabricates, fits and services orthoses to support or correct disabilities. Likewise, a prosthetist is a practitioner who measures, designs, fabricates, fits and services prostheses for replacement of a missing limb or appendage due to congenital or acquired limb loss.

A few other terms pertinent to our specialties:

O&P (or P&O) – Widely used abbreviation for orthotics and prosthetics.

Pedorthist – An individual trained in the manufacturing, fitting and modification of foot appliances and footwear for the purposes of alleviating painful or debilitating conditions of the lower limb.

Rehabilitation Team – A group of allied health care professionals that frequently includes physician, surgeon, orthotist/prosthetist, physical and/or occupational therapist, social worker and counselor assembled to help a debilitated individual regain a functional life.

We hope that this helps you better understand the language of O & P. Knowing the correct terms can help you get to most out of each visit with your prosthetist or orthostist. Contact Premier Prosthetics today with any questions you may have!

Summer Amputee Skin Care: Preventing Sweat and Skin Rash

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Keep your sensitive residual limb skin cool, clean and comfy this summer.

Keep your sensitive residual limb skin cool, clean and comfy throughout the summer.

 

The summer is a great time to get outdoors and be active in the warm weather.  However, while being outdoors in the summer heat, you are bound to sweat… a lot! Proper skin and stump care can help prevent from developing any uncomfortable skin rashes relative to your prosthetic device. Premier Prosthetics has some tips for you to follow to stay cool and rash-free during the sweaty, summer months:

  1. If you will be sweating all day, take off your prosthetic device and liner every couple of hours to wipe it down and dry it off. Be sure to use a clean towel each time.
  2. Wash and completely dry your prosthetic device and liner at least once a day. Use a mild, antibacterial soap.
  3. If you feel like you may be developing a heat rash, apply a small amount of rash cream that contains zinc-oxide. Creams that contain zinc-oxide are usually creams to treat baby bottom rashes.
  4. A couple of times a week when you are comfortable, spend time not wearing your prosthetic device. This will help let your skin breath and naturally dry out the area.
  5. Once a week, try using a mild exfoliant to keep your skin supple and protect from clogged pores in that area. Consult your practitioner for an exfoliating soap that is right for you.
  6. In the evening, soothe the stump by using a cream approved by your doctor or prosthetist. Olive oil, cocoa oil/butter and shea butter are all natural choices that are popular with many prosthetic device users. Again, talk with your practitioner before trying any creams for the first time.
  7. Invest in a good liner as well as a good fitting prosthesis. Nothing will help prevent summer related rashes better than making sure your prosthetic device is a perfect fit!

We at Premier Prosthetics hope that you have an excellent summer and can avoid any sweat or heat related skin rashes. For more information on rash prevention or about any of our services, give us a call today!

Preventative Foot Care

Posted on: July 24th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Those with diabetes need to take extra precautions with their feet when being outdoors this summer.

Those with diabetes need to take extra precautions with their feet when being outdoors this summer.

 

The summer season is host to a variety of outdoor activities, events and celebrations.  However for those with diabetes, attending these activities can be a challenge as it raises the risk for complications with sensitive feet. It is important for those with diabetes to take extra precautions to prevent foot related accidents and complications when going outdoors.

Here are some foot care and safety recommendations for those with diabetes:

  • Folks with diabetes should receive thorough foot exams during every medical visit. At home, they should examine their own feet for sores or injuries at least once daily.
  • Diabetic feet should be washed every day in warm – not hot – water, and dried well, particularly between the toes. Keep feet soft with lotion or petroleum jelly, smooth corns and calluses gently, and trim toenails frequently.  Keep in mind when trimming toenails to trim straight across!
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times to minimize the risk of injury. Never go barefoot around the house or outdoors.
  • Protect feet from extreme heat and never use heating pads or hot water to warm feet.
  • Remain active and do other things to promote blood flow to feet. Check with your healthcare provider on exercises that would be appropriate for you to do or to not do.
  • Discuss general foot care with your doctor, prosthetist or other health professional. It is very important to maintain an open and honest discussion with your prosthetist to achieve optimal care and personalized support just for you.

We hope that you and your family have a fun and safe summer!  Don’t forget to take these extra precautions into consideration when attending summer activities, events or for simply taking a walk on a warm summer evening. Contact Premier Prosthetics today for more information or guidance on diabetic foot care.

Communicating Effectively with Your Prosthetist

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Having a positive relationship with your prosthetist can help improve your outcome as a prosthetic device user.

Having a positive relationship with your prosthetist can help improve your outcome as a prosthetic device user.

 

The relationship you share with your prosthetist should be one based on trust, honesty and open communication at all times. Premier Prosthetics wants to make sure you are comfortable and prepared to establish this positive relationship with your prosthetist.

A key predictor of optimal prosthetic success is the prosthetist’s understanding the new client’s medical background, current medical status, and future lifestyle desires and expectations. Equally important is the client fully understanding all of their options and maintaining a realistic understanding of the path that lies ahead. Typically, the best results come when the client is regarded as a full partner in the rehabilitation team.

At no time is clear communication more important than your first prosthetic appointment. Therefore, schedule ample time for this initial evaluation and sharing of information. Bring all pertinent health records and come prepared to tell your story…every detail is important. Ask every question that comes to mind.

Over the series of subsequent appointments to measure, fit, and fine-tune your prosthetic limb, open and detailed communication remains essential. Make sure you understand what is happening at each step along the way. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask for further explanation.

Once your prosthetist delivers your new limb, do not leave until you feel comfortable with your prosthesis and understand what actions (e.g. therapy, exercise, cleaning, maintenance, etc.) come next. Even after you leave the facility, contact your prosthetist any time you need additional information.

Your prosthetist’s intention is to provide you with a replacement limb that provides the best possible balance of function, appearance and comfort for your needs, capabilities and lifestyle. Your honest, specific communication will help achieve that goal.

At Premier Prosthetics, our expert team of prosthetists is prepared to work with you to provide you with the best experience and outcome as possible. We invite you to contact us today with any further questions you may have.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Entire Body

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Try these exercises to help you stay healthy and fit.

Try these exercises to help you stay healthy and fit.

 

Strengthening the lower back, hips and core muscles can make a big difference in how you feel on a daily basis. Many assume that unless you are pumping lots of weight, you won’t see positive results. But these simple exercise moves may surprise you by offering great results.

Core Exercises

Strengthening your core will help you have better balance. The plank is the best exercise to help strengthen the abdominal muscles as well as the back muscles. Even if you are an above-knee amputee without your prosthetic device, you can be on your quadriceps with your arms placed shoulder width apart. If you are a below-knee amputee without your prosthetic device, you can be on your knees. If you are wearing your prosthetic device, start on your knees with a goal to work up to your toes.

Hold the plank for as long as you can without swaying downward. This will cause stress on your back. As your abdominal muscles get stronger, you will find you can hold the position much longer.

Back Extensions

Back extensions can be done with or without a prosthetic device. Lie on your stomach on a flat surface. With both legs straight and shoulder width apart and arms under your chin, press your legs down firmly while lifting the upper body. Hold this for three counts then lower back down. Repeat this 10 times.

Pelvic Tilts

Lie on your back with knees bent on a flat surface. Tilt your hips upward and toward you, trying to flatten your back on the surface. Try to imagine a bucket of water on your lap – when you lift the gluteus muscles, the water would spill on you.

These exercises are created to keep your body strong and pain-free as possible. The only way to make improvements is to be sure you are doing them correctly. It is also important to make sure your prosthetic device fits correctly and is comfortable.

If you are experiencing any discomfort with your prosthetic device, contact Premier Prosthetics. We have practitioners who are ready to help. If you don’t see any changes right away, don’t be discouraged! Your hard work will make a difference, so keep moving forward!

 

Get Your Game On

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Learn about some of the competitive sports that are popular among prosthetic or wheelchair users.

Learn about some of the competitive sports that are popular among prosthetic or wheelchair users.

 

Staying physically active is the best way to stay physically and mentally fit after a limb loss. Most sports have some kind of adaptation that allows players of all capabilities to participate. For today’s blog post, Premier Prosthetics chose to focus on some of the most popular competitive sports among individuals with prosthetic devices or wheelchairs.

Volleyball

Volleyball can either be played sitting or standing. In sitting volleyball, players must keep at least one buttock in contact with the floor whenever they make contact with the volleyball. In a standing volleyball match, athletes have a choice to play with or without their prostheses. Athletes with amputations, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, and strokes are eligible to compete.

Tennis

Tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world. It can be integrated easily because the same court, rackets and ball are used.  It is a popular sport for many amputees because upper and lower limb amputees, as well as individuals using walkers and wheelchairs, can participate. The game rules are the same as able-bodied tennis, with the only exception being that a wheelchair player can allow the ball to bounce twice.

Basketball

Basketball is the most popular sport for individuals with limited mobility. Most of the major rules remain the same with a few exceptions. The player’s wheelchair is considered part of the player and general rules of contact and fouls apply. There are also rules about dribbling and how many pushes a player may use without being called for a traveling violation.

Swimming

The rules for swimming are adapted to accommodate those with limited mobility. The starting positions vary and there are adaptations allowed for visually impaired swimmers. Swimmers may start the race standing on a platform and diving in, sitting on the platform, or starting in the water.

Sports are a great way to stay active and socialize with new people. They have also been found to increase confidence in those who participate. At Premier Prosthetics, we can help you find the best device to help your performance and keep you in the game!