Amputee training is a fundamental phase of successful prosthetic treatment. Training for prosthetic users ensure that they can navigate the various surfaces they'll encounter beyond the smooth clinic floor such as stairs, slopes, and rough terrain. Furthermore, prosthetic training helps you function well in your everyday life and assists you in transitioning into your new normal.
Training is performed with your physical therapy, so expect your prosthetist to work closely with your physical therapist on this. Your prosthetist will be monitoring your progress closely so that your artificial leg can be modified to meet your unique requirements. Simply put, the goal of amputee training is to help you gain maximum benefit from your prosthesis as well as develop your skills.
Amputee training is divided into two phases: the initial discussion and the active training or check walk.
Getting the most out of your new prosthesis or modifying an existing one requires realistic goals. At this stage, you need to discuss all your needs with both your physical therapist and prosthetist. This information is crucial because it will determine the foundation of your training plan, which will be designed by your physical therapist and prosthetist. And based on your needs, your prosthetist will be able to design and fabricate your unique prosthesis with prosthetic components that meet these needs.
However, it’s also important to be realistic with your expectations. Despite the advancements of prosthetic technology, there are still prosthetic component limitations, as well as your own current physical abilities.
During the initial discussion, your prosthetist will be able to show you how each component functions. This will help you gain a foundational understanding of your prosthesis and consequently, prepare you for active training.
During active training, your skills will improve, and your prosthesis will be continuously adjusted. You will begin to learn how to walk with your new prosthetic limb; your prosthetist will assess how you walk and inform you of any necessary improvements. If your prosthetist deems long-term gait correction necessary, your physical therapist will be notified.
Keep in mind this stage won’t look the same for everyone. It’s important to remember that sometimes complex components need numerous adjustments over a few days or even weeks.
Expect your initial training to continue outdoors as your prosthetist further fine-tunes your artificial leg. After all, being able to control your new prosthesis in a real-world setting is the ultimate goal, so it’s crucial for your prosthetist to adjust the components to suit the environments you are likely to live within.
Training with your prosthetist and physical therapist is vital, and it marks the beginning of your rehabilitation journey. Maintaining and developing your new skills will require implementing newly learned techniques into your daily activities. You will also need to see your prosthetist for follow-up appointments so he/she can detect and correct issues before they evolve into bad habits.
What was your prosthetic training experience like? How long did it take for you to get used to your new prosthetic limb? Please share your stories with us in the comments section below.