Woman with a prosthetic leg walks through a garden with children by the hand and dog by the side.

Amputation of the leg — how to go on living?

Rehabilitation measures after an amputation of a leg. 
A patient and medical staff interact in a rehabilitation facility.

Amputation, rehabilitation and a new beginning with a prosthetic leg

After a pro­found pro­ce­du­re such as ampu­ta­ti­on of a leg, you find yourself con­fron­ted with dif­fi­cult new chal­len­ges, worries and hardships. It is important to us to stand by you and your fel­low man during this time. We will help you to over­co­me the new hurd­les of the com­ing weeks and months. 

Once you have reco­ve­r­ed mental­ly and phy­si­cal­ly from the trau­ma­tic expe­ri­ence of ampu­ta­ti­on, par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in life beco­mes important. What does that mean for you? Is it pos­si­ble to return to your job? Would you like to con­ti­nue your usu­al sport? Or are new oppor­tu­nities to inter­act with the world ope­ning up? May­be secu­ri­ty and sta­bi­li­ty are most important to you right now? The needs to which a leg prost­he­sis is tailo­red are as indi­vi­du­al as lives per­cep­ti­on. Regard­less of whe­ther it is your first or you are alrea­dy an accom­plis­hed wea­rer of prosthetics.

Find out here what types of prosthe­ses are avail­ab­le and how you can inte­gra­te them into your new life. Your ortho­pe­dic tech­ni­ci­an will be hap­py to advi­se you.

Preparations for an amputation

Perhaps you have known about an upco­m­ing ampu­ta­ti­on for some time. Even if this pro­spect weighs on you, you are not alo­ne. We sup­port you in pre­pa­ra­ti­on for this serious pro­ce­du­re. Here we shed light on what to expect, who will look after you and how to pro­ceed afterwards.

Choose your specialist

Perhaps you did­n’t know, you have a say in who per­forms the pro­ce­du­re. The coor­di­na­ting ortho­pe­dic tech­ni­ci­an is one of the most important peop­le who are part of your care team befo­re, during and after an ampu­ta­ti­on. Tre­at­ment by expe­ri­en­ced spe­cia­lists is of gre­at impor­t­ance. Below is an over­view of the most important par­ties involved.

Your care team

Experts from dif­fe­rent disci­pli­nes are ent­rus­ted with your care befo­re, during and after a leg ampu­ta­ti­on. Find out which spe­cia­list can help you and how.

The surgeon

If pos­si­ble, a good sur­ge­on will coor­di­na­te with your ortho­pe­dic tech­ni­ci­an befo­re an ampu­ta­ti­on. He will advi­se you and car­ry out the ope­ra­ti­on. Coor­di­na­ti­on with the ortho­pe­dic tech­no­lo­gy depart­ment makes it easier to pro­du­ce your prost­he­sis to fit per­fect­ly. After the ampu­ta­ti­on, the sur­ge­on obser­ves the healing pro­cess and appro­ves your reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on measure.

Inpatient nursing staff

In the hos­pi­tal, you will be loo­ked after by spe­cia­li­zed staff who have an eye on dres­sing and align­ment for rapid wound healing. Holistic care is clo­se­ly coor­di­na­ted with doc­tors, the­ra­pists and ortho­pe­dic technology.

Your general practitioner and specialist

As a rule, your gene­ral prac­ti­tio­ner and spe­cia­list loo­ked after you in advan­ce of an ampu­ta­ti­on and is pre­pa­red accord­in­gly. He accom­pa­nies you during fur­ther reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on and pre­scri­bes new prosthe­ses or their adaptation.

Social services and social educators

For a smooth con­nec­tion to social life, such as work, accom­mo­da­ti­on, fami­ly and friends, employees of social ser­vices are alrea­dy avail­ab­le in the cli­nic. They give you an over­view of ser­vices such as spe­cial and cura­ti­ve edu­ca­tio­nal or social sup­por­ti­ve measures.

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists

In addi­ti­on to com­pres­si­on the­ra­py in the cli­nic, occup­a­tio­nal the­ra­pists and phy­sio­the­ra­pists will help you with your reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on and in ever­y­day life. They work with you on more mobi­li­ty and fle­xi­bi­li­ty by stret­ching and streng­t­he­ning your muscles.

The orthopedic technician

You will recei­ve your per­fect­ly fit­ting prost­he­sis from your ortho­pe­dic tech­ni­ci­an. He accom­pa­nies you from the begin­ning of the pro­cess and, in the best case, coor­di­na­tes with the sur­ge­on about the design of your resi­du­al limb. Do you need infor­ma­ti­on on con­ver­ting your apart­ment or car? Are you loo­king for an expe­ri­en­ced the­ra­pist, an ortho­pe­dic schu­ma­cher or a con­nec­tion to other peop­le with ampu­ta­ti­ons? Ask your ortho­pe­dic technician.

When choo­sing the right prost­he­sis, dis­cuss your wis­hes and needs with your ortho­pe­dic spe­cia­lists. After exami­ning your resi­du­al limb and, if necessa­ry, pro­du­cing an inte­rim prost­he­sis, your indi­vi­du­al prost­he­sis will be made from sui­ta­ble prost­he­sis components.

The orthopedic schumacher

In some cases, such as a cir­cu­la­to­ry dis­or­der, you need sui­ta­ble shoes to keep your healt­hy foot inta­ct. The use of ortho­pe­dic foot­we­ar may also be advan­ta­ge­ous in the case of a par­ti­al foot ampu­ta­ti­on. Alter­na­tively, par­ti­al foot prosthe­ses are avail­ab­le. If you have any ques­ti­ons, plea­se con­ta­ct your ortho­pe­dic technician.

The outpatient nursing staff

Ever­y­day mobi­li­ty, hand­ling the prost­he­sis and com­pres­si­on is sup­por­ted by out­pa­ti­ent nur­sing staff.

After an amputation

Wound healing and your reco­very are top prio­ri­ties after an ampu­ta­ti­on. Only then can you begin your reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on mea­su­re and recei­ve a prost­he­sis. It is important that you start rehab if:

  • You have a pain-free stump
  • the stump is resilient
  • Swel­ling and water reten­ti­on have subsided
  • mobi­li­ty of the resi­du­al limb in all direc­tions is possible

How long it takes befo­re you can wear a prost­he­sis and start rehab depends on the indi­vi­du­al situa­ti­on. If you actively par­ti­ci­pa­te, you can res­to­re mobi­li­ty in the run-up to rehab. With stami­na and per­se­ver­an­ce, you can get a prost­he­sis all the fas­ter and shape your life anew.

Your ortho­pe­dic tech­ni­ci­an can work with you during your hos­pi­tal stay to find a sui­ta­ble reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on faci­li­ty that spe­cia­li­zes in amputations.

The rehabilitation

Care team for rehabilitation after a leg amputation. Medical staff looks after a person with a prosthesis during mobilization.

The reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on pha­se begins a few weeks after the wound has hea­led. Their dura­ti­on is usual­ly mea­su­red at up to six mon­ths and is car­ri­ed out on an inpa­ti­ent or out­pa­ti­ent basis. For rehab, at best, you have cho­sen a spe­cial cli­nic for amputations.

During the reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on pha­se, you will be accom­pa­nied by a group of spe­cia­lists con­sis­ting of doc­tors, wound mana­gers, sports medi­ci­ne spe­cia­lists, occup­a­tio­nal the­ra­pists and phy­sio­the­ra­pists. The inten­si­ty of the reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on depends on the level of your reco­very. Nor­mal­ly you can expect dai­ly wal­king exer­ci­ses, occup­a­tio­nal the­ra­py, sports the­ra­py as well as mas­sa­ges, baths and the like. Indi­vi­du­al units usual­ly last 30 minu­tes, the dai­ly pro­gram amounts to three to four hours with breaks. So that you can get back to life as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, acti­ve par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on is cru­cial. You can request sup­port from a psy­cho­lo­gist who can also help you chan­ge your habits. Fami­ly help can also help you in ever­y­day life.

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