The Special Language of Our Specialty

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger No Comments
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 No Comments
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 No Comments
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 No Comments
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!

Shoe Shopping with a Prosthetic Device

Posted on: June 19th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Find the perfect pair of shoes that fits you and your lifestyle.

Find the perfect pair of shoes that fits you and your lifestyle.

 

Finding a pair of comfortable, stylish shoes is difficult for anyone. But it can be especially challenging for someone with a lower limb prosthetic device. Choosing the wrong shoe can lead to discomfort or a serious injury. Since choosing the right shoe is so important, Premier Prosthetics wants to help you find the perfect pair for both your style and your prosthetic device.

Flat shoes

Many people assume that a flatter shoe is best for an amputee. However, most prosthetic feet are designed to accommodate a small heel. A shoe with a heel lower than 3/8” can make you feel like you are being pushed backwards slightly. To prevent any issues that come with wearing too flat of shoe, your prosthetist may advise you to use a small heel wedge inside the prosthetic side shoe.

High heels

Some people choose to wear high heels for a variety of occasions. Individuals using a prosthetic device wear shoes ranging from stylish pumps to cowboy boots. But caution must be taken. Too high of heel is potentially dangerous for an above-the-knee amputee. Many prosthetic knees are weight activated at the toe so if there is too much pressure on that foot, the knee will bend involuntarily, causing a fall.

Sandals

Sandal straps can cause issues for someone using a prosthetic limb. If the straps are too delicate, the foot won’t be secure and could slide around in the shoe. To avoid issues, look for sandals that have a thick adjustable strap to keep the prosthetic foot secure throughout the entire foot and ankle.

Running shoes

Sneakers are generally the best option for those with lower limb prosthetics. They are secure and provide good shock absorption in the sole.

If you are experiencing discomfort while using your prosthetic leg, it could be because your footwear is not providing the proper support. The practitioners at Premier Prosthetics are experts and can help you find the solutions you need to be as active and comfortable as possible! If you are questioning a shoe selection, bring them to a Premier Prosthetics prosthetist for evaluation.

 

A Couple That Works Out Together, Stays Together

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Here are some great exercises that you can do with your significant other!

Exercising with your significant other is a great way to bond and stay healthy!

 

Looking for a new way to bond with your partner? Premier Prosthetics has a solution that is both good for you and good for your relationship! Working out with another person is a great motivator and bonding activity. Try some of these ideas for working out as a couple.

Cardio

Finding some kind of cardiovascular workout that you two can do together is a simple activity to adapt. Bike rides are great for exercise and there are all kinds of accessible bikes such as hand cycles and recumbent leg bikes. Activities like swimming or water aerobics are another way to get your heart pumping. If the weather is nice, a walk along the accessible greenway path in a park will allow for conversation as well. If you need to stay indoors, many fitness centers now offer pieces of accessible cardio equipment like arm bikes or Nusteps.

Weightlifting

This activity tends to be more of a challenge. Not only do you probably not share the same goals, but you also don’t have the same abilities. Start by turning workouts into a circuit with everything ready to go before you begin the workout.

Stretching

Stretching is a great partner activity that can be done anytime, anywhere. There are many benefits from stretching like an increased range of motion and balance. Take turns stretching one another and you will both reap these benefits. This can help limit the number of times you must transfer, saving time and energy. When there is an exercise that one person isn’t able to do, switch to an exercise that allows them to target a small muscle group such as internal/external shoulder rotation, forearm extension and shrugs.

The goal of Premier Prosthetics is to help those with limited mobility thrive with their lifestyle. Part of that is staying healthy both physically and emotionally. Remember, a couple that works out together, stays together.

Growing Up After a Limb Loss

Posted on: May 15th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Growing up after a limb loss can be very difficult, but there are many things you can do to improve your outcome after limb loss and live a happy life.

Growing up after a limb loss can be very difficult, but there are many things you can do to improve your outcome after limb loss and live a happy life.

 

Growing up with an amputation can be difficult. Children and teens often feel limited by their limb loss and only notice the ways they are different from those around them. But Premier Prosthetics has gathered some advice for kids growing up as an individual with limb loss from kids and teens who have been there before.

Your attitude affects how others treat you

There is no getting around the curiosity and questions that people will inevitably have. But if you are more comfortable and confident with yourself, you can expect to receive more respect from others. If someone asks a question, offer a quick matter-of-fact explanation to put them at ease.

Laugh when you can

Having a sense of humor is one of the greatest gifts for those who go through life feeling like they are different. If you can crack some jokes and laugh at yourself, you will help make others feel comfortable. Humor can also help you get through the natural ups and downs of life!

It gets easier

Whether you were born without a limb or lost it later on, it will get easier. As you get older, you get used to living with a prosthetic device or without a limb at all. The people you care about will also become more accepting and comfortable with your difference.

Tell your family and friends how to support you

Your loved ones may act like nothing is different or they may try to do everything for you. But in different situations, you want different kinds of support. Instead of making your family and friends attempt to read your mind, tell them how they can help. Be kind and patient with your requests. It is sometimes awkward to say something to those who want to help, but they will usually appreciate some direction.

If you think that your child would benefit from talking with someone who has been through similar experiences as them, there are mentor programs and support groups available. Premier Prosthetics works with children to create prosthetic and orthotic devices to help them lead active and healthy lives. Contact us to make an appointment for your child today!

Tips to Improve Your Outcome as a Prosthetic User: Part 2

Posted on: May 15th, 2015 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger
Continued from Part 1 and caring for your device, here are some tips to help keep you happy and healthy as a prosthetic user.

Continued from Part 1 about caring for your device, here are some tips to help keep you happy and healthy as a prosthetic user.

 

In our last blog post, we talked about some things you can do to help ensure a successful outcome with your prosthetic device. Today, we want to talk about some more tips that will help you stay happy, healthy and active.

  1. See your prosthetist every three months. Even if everything seems to be working well, you should visit your prosthetist regularly to have your residual limb and prosthetic device checked. If something becomes uncomfortable between your scheduled visits, you can schedule additional appointments.
  2. Maintain your overall health. Wearing your prosthetic device while you sit around the house or in a wheelchair all day does not do any favors for your overall health. Get active by standing and walking around on your prosthetic device as much as possible. Increased activity will also improve blood circulation to the lower limbs, aiding with the prevention or treatment of diabetes.
  3. Liners don’t last forever. As liners wear down in certain areas, the gel becomes thin and less protective. This can lead to skin breakdown and infection. Insurance typically covers the expense of two new liners every 12 months.
  4. Understand the importance of sock-ply management. It is normal for your residual limb to change size and shape after your amputation. You can use different sock-ply configurations to maintain a comfortable socket fit. Combining full-length and/or partial length socks is one way to achieve the best fit. Be willing to try different things and make adjustments to find the right fit.
  5. Get informed about the terms of your medical coverage. Whether you are insured by Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration or private insurance, educate yourself about what your deductibles and co-pays are. If you have a primary insurer, you may also be able to buy a secondary coverage policy to cover more of your prosthetic expenses.

You and your prosthetist must work as a team to achieve success with your prosthetic device. Communicate your goals with them so you can combine efforts and work towards that objective. You can talk with a prosthetist at Premier Prosthetics by giving us a call at 210-340-2181 or contacting us online.