I am a caregiver for my dear sister. She has had type1 insulin dependent diabetes for 47 yrs. Sadly she had a below the knee amputation Sept.2008 due to a tiny foot ulcer in May 2008. After complications, infections, her wound finally healed early Dec.2009. Yes it took this long!

We are so happy & excited because she just got the OK to be fitted for a prosthetic. Any advice, questions, comments that should be asked when she goes for her first appontment to be fitted? I want her to get the best care & the very best lightweight fitting prosthetic.

Thank you for any help?

I understand that prosthetic use training by a good occupational therapist is related to successful use and acceptance of a prosthesis. In other words, a great training program is just as important as a great lightweight fitting prosthetic. Hope your sister is going to a specialized center with an interdisciplinary team that can provide her with both a proper fitting prosthetic and training to use her new device. Best regards, Lucy

First and foremost… your sister is very blessed to have such a caring sister like you.
The initial therapy sessions will consist of:

  • how to put on and remove the leg prosthesis
  • how to begin to walk
  • how to take care of the skin around the stump
  • how to do basic repairs on the prosthesis
    The team of therapists will also focus on the areas that you and and your sister will worry about, like walking on unlevel surfaces (sand, gravel), walking up/down stairs and standing for extended periods of time
    There are also teams of couselors and psychologist that may help your sister develop a positive attitude on functioning normally everyday using the prosthetic. As far as I know (Im a psychologst by profession) your sister needs most understanding, patience and positive reinforcement from you and her family while doing the therapy.
    Personal advise…do recreational stuffs with her…like activities she likes or enjoy most e.g walking, sight seeing, sports, shopping
    I wish you and your sister the best Ann =)

Please check the stump area often for skin breakdown and make sure her prosthesis fits well. Good luck to your sister and you.

Thank you for responding. She has only had a consult at this point. I so look forward to her getting her life back. She has been wheelchair bound since September 2008. She fell on her limb (while in a rehab w/staff member) in Oct.2008 & a large open wound was there until it healed healed Dec. 2009.

A necessary precaution is to take a good care of the skin. Here’s a useful link for ulcer treatment and precaution methods.

Dear Ann,
Expect that this will be only her first prosthetic.
Expect that she will go up and down in weight and that it won’t fit every day the same. That’s what socks are for.
Expect that it will take time to be fitted, time for it to be made, time to get used to it, time being disappointed with it (it’s not a real leg), and time to settle down with happiness that one is mobile again.
You sound as if you have infinite patience and she is dear to you. Be optimistic all the way: it will work.
If she’s a swimmer, there’s a swimming prosthetic, too.
My very best wishes for you and her.