Frequently Asked Questions

Prosthetic FAQ, Lower Extremity

Q. Will my residual limb change size?
A. Yes. Over time, your residual limb will shrink. Following surgery the shape of your residual limb will be bulbous, but it gradually should shrink down to conical shape.

Q. How will my residual limb shrink?
A. The most common methods used today to reduce the swelling of a residual limb are ace bandages and stump shrinkers. An ace bandage is wrapped in a Figure of 8 wrap and can be a very effective way to control swelling and encourage shrinkage when applied properly. Approximately two weeks after surgery, once the sutures are removed, a stump shrinker may be used to reduce swelling. A stump shrinker is an elastic sock that is sized to fit your residual limb.

Q. Will my residual limb continue to change after the initial shrinkage?
A. Yes. Your residual limb will continue to change throughout your life as your body ages and gains and loses weight.

Q. How do I deal with these changes when wearing a prosthesis?
A. Prosthetic socks are worn over the residual limb within a prosthesis to help maintain the best and most comfortable fit possible. Since your residual limb will experience changes, prosthetic socks, which come in different materials and thickness, must be worn to help adjust the fit of your socket. To find the right fit, you can add or remove socks, or wear socks of varying thickness.

Q. How often will I have to change my prosthetic sock?
A. You could be adjusting your socks several times a day, but it all depends on the fluid changes in your leg. When there are fluid changes in the leg, you will either need to add or subtract the sock or change the thickness of the sock. Fluid changes are caused by excess heat in summer weather, non-wrapping of the leg during the night, letting the leg hang down without the artificial leg on and extreme changes in your normal amount of daily activity. In general, socks should be changed every day or when they become moist with perspiration.

Q. How should I clean my prosthetic sock?
A. Your cotton and nylon socks can be machine washed and dried. Wool socks should be hand washed in a mild detergent, re-shaped and air dried.

Q. How often should I check my residual limb and what should I be looking for?
A. You should check your residual limb every day for skin changes, including blisters, redness, soreness, swelling, pain or drainage. If you notice any of these types of skin changes, call your Prosthetist immediately. Do not continue to wear your prostheses until your Prosthetist evaluates the situation.

Prosthetic FAQ, Upper Extremity

Q. What is a myoelectric arm?
A. A myoelectric arm is one of the most advanced technologies in upper extremity prosthetics. Myoelectrics involves using electronic sensors to detect nerve impulses that stimulate a muscle in the residual limb. These impulses are converted into an electrical current, amplified and transferred into a motor in the prosthesis. The motor then activates the hand or arm.

General Orthotic Questions

Q. How can I move around more easily in my brace?
A. If you need to get up from lying down, first get on your side and use your arms to help push your body to a sitting or standing position. When picking things up off the floor, bend at your hips and knees instead of at your waist. Choose a firm or hard chair over a soft low chair. You will be more comfortable sitting in a firm chair. While driving a car, you may want to place a firm cushion under you for extra support and comfort.

Q. How should I take care of my skin while wearing a brace?
A. While wearing a brace you must take very good care of your skin to prevent skin breakdown. Some signs of skin breakdown include sore, red, raw skin and blistered areas. If you are experiencing skin breakdown, call your Orthotist or physician immediately. To avoid having skin breakdown, you should do the following: Take a bath or shower daily. Clean and toughen your skin by applying rubbing alcohol at your waistline and where the edges and the pads of your brace touch your skin. After your skin has dried, apply cornstarch to the same areas. This will help absorb the skin's moisture. Do not use creams, lotions or bandaids under your brace. They can cause a rash or skin breakdown.

Payment Questions

Q. Will my prosthetic or orthotic device be covered by insurance?
A. It will depend upon your age, employment situation, private insurance and other factors. If you are insured privately or through your employer, you'll have to check your specific policy. If you are eligible for Medicare, most of your expenses for your device will be covered. We will be happy to assist you by verifying your coverage with your insurance provider.

Q. Do you offer payment plans or care credit?
A. Yes. Here at Limbcare we realize that every need and situation is different.

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