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April is Limb Loss Awareness Month

Posted by Bryan Potok on

Every April, we support Limb Loss Awareness Month (LLAM), and we are still going to do so this year with a few modifications. Although every single offline gathering has been canceled, we can still gather online to spread awareness and give encouragement to those who need it.

 Tips on celebrating limb loss awareness month amidst a pandemic.

Why limb loss awareness matters  

Every year, limb loss is becoming more prevalent. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that around 2.1 million people are living with limb loss. If current trends continue—approximately 185,000 people have amputations every year—there will be an estimated 3.6 million amputees by 2050.

Currently, significant advances in prosthetic care help ease the burden of those who have lost a limb and those who were born with a limb difference. Because of these improvements, amputees can continue to lead fulfilling lives. Not to mention, many adaptive athletes can perform better than "able-bodied" athletes. However, not everyone living with limb loss has access to decent prosthetic care and the latest technology.

Challenges in getting prosthetic care  

Most amputees still face discouraging obstacles when trying to obtain prosthetic care. And those who are unable to afford prostheses are at risk for secondary conditions, which tend to be dangerous and costly.

Obstacles include changes in insurance coverage for prostheses, which threaten their ability to care for their families and lead lives that contribute to society. Some insurance companies impose unrealistic limits, such as a $2,500 limit per lifetime or only one artificial limb per lifetime. Meanwhile, other insurers eliminate coverage for orthotic and prosthetic care.

How to celebrate LLAM 2020  

There are many ways for you to help raise awareness of the reality of people living with limb loss.

One, you can share facts about limb loss on social media. Not everyone will know someone who is an amputee, which is why life with limb loss is unimaginable for many. However, out of the estimated 2.1 million amputees in the U.S., 54% lost their limbs due to vascular disease, including peripheral arterial disease and diabetes. Meanwhile, 45% lost their limbs due to traumatic events, and less than 2% lost their limbs due to cancer.

Two, we encourage you to inspire and motivate others by sharing your story of living well with limb loss. If you know someone else who’s living well with limb loss, ask for their permission to share their stories. You can also post photos of you or your loved one wearing prosthetic or assistive devices. This helps paint a better picture of what life is like for many amputees.

Three, if you have an existing amputee support group, we highly encourage setting up a group video call in place of your usual face-to-face meeting. This way, you can still get the same emotional support while following social distancing measures. 

Despite the ongoing pandemic, we are going to mark Limb Loss Awareness Month because it provides the perfect opportunity to tell everyone what it’s like to live with limb loss—the struggles, opportunities, and victories. Most importantly, starting a discussion online can help other amputees arrive at self-acceptance and even break down barriers during this challenging time. 

How do you plan on celebrating Limb Loss Awareness Month this year? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.   
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<a href="">April is Limb Loss Awareness Month</a>

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  • I am VERY disappointed in the healthcare of the Bay Area. San Jose Area to be exact. I have gone to my doctor this year in January and have yet to have received a prescription for a new Prosthetic. I went to one in the area and he just could not produce the quality and caused lots of bruising. I was given the one I wear now, 5 years ago in Texas were I was given a BK amputation. I got a beautiful fitted prosthetic and then I come back to my home and go to my doctor and no info on where I can get this old one if 5 years replaced. I gave her a name of one prothetic company but my insurance does not accept it. In all of Silicon Valley there has to be someone to take my insurance. Do others have this problem? It’s like because the doctor hasn’t had to use a prosthetic then maybe she would get on it. So disappointed. I’m 70 and my leg is at least 3 inches less in size. I have given her a name of a company that works in the Bay Area and texas but no note to get a replacement. Any suggestions?

    BArbara KIrby on

  • I had a below the knee amputation on March 14th 2019 due to a bad infection near my right ankle. One of the first things I did was get a low cost left foot gas peddle for my pickup which a friend and installed while I was still in my wheelchair. I was driving again before I got my prosthetic. I’m retired so I wanted to be able to travel with my wife and do things around the house. We went on a cruise to Bermuda in September of last year. I got a handicap room on the ship and only needed my wheelchair at night to go the bathroom. I noticed there were a couple other amputees on board. I wear my prosthetic from the time I get up till I go to bed with no issues. My friend and I like to work on pickups to buy them cheap, fix them up, and sell them. He and I just remodeled my 2 car garage so we have more room to work on them. We also go to junk yards to get parts for them. I can get down on my hands and knees and back up on my own. Not bad for a 65 year old that had his surgery a little over a year ago. The important thing is to have a right mind set. When I was in rehab after the surgery my 4 year old granddaughter drew me a picture of her and I walking through the grass. I hung up in my room and that inspired me to reach that goal and I did and more. If I can do it other amputees can also.

    John J Werner Jr on

  • Hello Bryan, I am a newly amputee, I’ve had mine for 41\2 months, I also had 2 back to back subtailor joint fusion surgeries that went bad is why for mine, I just want to say that everything we all hear about life going back to somewhat normalcy, it can happen but just don’t give up & don’t buy into Negative thoughts, those thoughts just make this whole situation of limb loss even harder speaking from experience, do you damnest to think positive yhoughts, because there’s really no going back once it’s done & yes times are tiresome even more with this pandemic, but this 2 shall pass just believe in it.
    Every day is a struggle, but struggles can be overcome & the feeling you receive after that struggle is past is simply Awesome ness.

    Pete Hahn on

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