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A prosthetic limb is a tool used to replace a missing or disabled leg due to various causes, such as illness, accident, amputation, or birth defects. The use of prosthetic limbs is expected to make it easier for someone to carry out daily activities independently
Technology developments have also influenced the medical world, including in the field of occupational therapy. One of the important aspects of occupational therapy in patients who have lost limbs is the manufacture and installation of prosthetic limbs, such as prosthetic limbs.
The use of this tool has an important role, so that patients who have lost their original limbs can move and work well and live more independently. However, in order for this tool to function optimally, prosthetic users need to know how to properly care for their prosthetic limbs.
Prosthetic Leg Installation
The process of selecting and installing prosthetic limbs is carried out in the hospital by a rehabilitation team consisting of specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation (sp. KFR) and experts in making prosthetic limbs (prostheses).
Usually the installation of a prosthetic limb is carried out a few weeks after the amputation surgery, depending on the condition of the foot, the wound, and the postoperative healing process.
Before the prosthetic limb is installed, there are several processes that must be carried out, including:
- Ensuring the he alth condition of the area around the feet
- Measure the stump or the base where the prosthetic leg will be attached, so that the prosthetic leg size fits the patient's body size
- Making foot prints from plaster
- Design sockets or supports, so that patients feel more comfortable
- Adding axle to the prosthetic limb candidate
- Beautify the prospective prosthetic leg to match the aesthetics of the body
Right before the installation of the prosthetic limb, usually desensitization of the skin around the stump will be performed. Desensitization is a process to reduce the level of sensitivity of the skin around the stump, so that the prosthetic limb can be more comfortable to wear.
The desensitization process is carried out as follows:
- The skin covering the stump is pressed with a soft cloth.
- The stump is wrapped with a bandage to reduce swelling and prevent fluid buildup around the stump.
- The skin around the bone is pulled and rubbed gently to avoid the formation of excessive scar tissue.
To get used to the prosthetic leg while strengthening the remaining muscles, patients usually need to undergo physiotherapy and a series of physical exercise programs. Through this program, doctors and physiotherapists can help you get used to using prosthetic limbs and move more comfortably.
Various Tips for Caring for Prosthetic Feet
In order for prosthetic limbs to be more comfortable to use and function optimally, it is important for users of these tools to properly care for their prosthetic limbs.
Here are some ways to care for prosthetic legs that need to be applied every day:
- Take off the prosthetic at bedtime and inspect the prosthetic to make sure there are no broken or loose parts.
- Check the base of the foot or stump to make sure there is no irritation, injury, or infection. If necessary, ask someone else to help check the skin around the stump.
- Clean the stump, then massage the skin gently using lotion.
- Cover the stump with a bandage when not using the prosthetic to reduce swelling.
- Do exercises to support endurance, range of motion, posture, and stretching, as directed by a physiotherapist or doctor.
- Choose the right shoes and avoid changing the heel height.
- Wear dry and clean socks every time you wear a prosthetic.
- Clean the socket with soap regularly.
Besides that, in order for the prosthetic limbs to still fit the body size and be comfortable to wear, prosthetic limb users also need to maintain an ideal body weight.
To ensure that the prosthetic limb is still feasible and functioning properly, it is recommended that you have your prosthetic limb checked by a prosthetician or to a medical rehabilitation specialist on a regular basis, at least once a year.
If you experience problems while using the prosthetic, for example an infection occurs, the prosthetic leg doesn't fit or the prosthetic feels uncomfortable to wear, you should immediately consult a doctor.