By Terry Colley, Licensed Pedorthist, COF, COPA
What is an amputee? An amputee is a person who has lost a limb. There are different classifications of an amputee. Below knee, above knee, hip disarticulation, below elbow, and above elbow are the most common. In our profession, we see a lot of below knee and above knee amputees.
Amputees will go through many changes in their life—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Not all people take losing a limb the same, as some will deal with the loss better than others. Depending on the person’s health and age, healing can take longer, which can lead to confusion and depression. Almost all people who go through an amputation will go through some type of physiological change.
Many questions an amputee may ask are: how long it will be before I can walk again? How long is the process before my leg/arm heals? Will I be able to do certain things that I want to do? This is where your prosthetist comes in. Your prosthetist will be the person responsible for making your prosthesis, and more importantly, they will also be your confidant. You will have a bond with your prosthetist like you do with your doctor or even a family member.
Living life after amputation
Almost everyone is able to go on living their life after amputation and, perhaps, even live better. There are a lot of people that return to work full time. Amputees are able to resume their favorite activities such as hunting, fishing, playing sports, running, and hiking, just to name a few. There are no limitations to what you can do with your prosthesis; you are only limited to what you can do as an individual. Yes, some things are different, like taking a shower or bath, jumping right out of bed, or driving; it doesn’t mean you can’t do those things, but they are done a little differently.
There are no magic pills or superpowers to achieving a normal life after amputation. That comes with hard work, dedication, and the will power to get up and press on. Sure, it’s easier for some than others. Living life without a limb is not easy, but you have to accept the challenges, push forward and, live your life.
No matter what type of amputation you have had, we at Bristol Orthotics & Prosthetics have many years of service and trained professionals to help you. We can make any prosthetic device tailored to what you need, whether it be a shower/water leg, running leg, or sports leg. Sometimes in life the hardest challenges offer the best rewards. As a double amputee myself, the quote I live by is simply, “I may fall, I may fail, but I will never quit!!!”
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