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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Marilyn

Any Tips?

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Greetings All,

Today was my 3rd physical therapy session. I'm having a great deal of trouble "trusting" the prothesis to hold me. My therapist is pretty good... and we have bumped up my sessions from 30 minutes to an hour at a time (three times a week).

I KNOW that as a below knee amputee, I have the best possible scenario. I have nothing but giant respect for the above knees and the bi lats...

But, wondering does anyone have any tricks or tips on gaining that trust that I'm needing? I know it basically all boils down to ME, but I'll take any feedback that you all have... Thanks. :D

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Prctice.and after that practice more :D

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I know it basically all boils down to ME, but I'll take any feedback that you all have...  Thanks.  :D

It really is that moment of letting go. Remember how it was when you were learning to ride a bike, you knew you could, but you just had to convince yourself that it was all going to be ok.

Well it's just like that, or at least it was for me. Having the faith to let go and walk, knowing I wasn't about to fall on my butt.

And just like riding a bike each time got a little easier, a little steadier and a little further. Providing everything is ok with your leg, then you have to trust yourself and let go.

It's early days yet Marilyn, just stay with it and you'll be fine.

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Do they let you loose with your prosthesis at home or are you just limited to the bars at your limb centre at the moment?

The best place for practicing is at home where nobodys watching. You can relax and mess it all up without anyone being critical then when you think you've got it you go back to the centre and they tell you what you're doing wrong.

When I got my first prosthesis they let me walk between the bars until I felt happy then gave me 2 sticks and let me go home. I had a couple of sessions a week at the limb centre which was quickly reduced to one a week. I just used to walk around the house and the garden path using as few sticks as I thought I could get away with until it all came together and I was walking (or limping) with none at all. It took me just under 7 weeks from the delivery of my prosthesis to returning to work.

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Remember how it was when you were learning to ride a bike, you knew you could, but you just had to convince yourself that it was all going to be ok.

Er... that's probably not the best analogy for you or me , Mike :lol: :lol:

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Having the faith to let go and walk, knowing I wasn't about to fall on my butt.

And just like riding a bike each time got a little easier, a little steadier and a little further. Providing everything is ok with your leg, then you have to trust yourself and let go.

It's early days yet Marilyn, just stay with it and you'll be fine.

Hey Blue,

Yep, I know I will do this! My pt person and I realized today that we are spending half my time stretching (I had really bad contractures -- nearly gone now!) and then putting on the leg. Bumping this up to an hour will help immensely, I'm sure.

I do know I have to build up the muscle in my right thigh -- been down and out for over 11 months now. Have lots of work to do, but boy it will be worth it!

Thanks. Sometimes just a word of encouragement is what I need! :D

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Do they let you loose with your prosthesis at home or are you just limited to the bars at your limb centre at the moment?

Murray, I bring my leg home each time. My pt person has me wearing it 2 hours in the am and 2 hours in the pm (to get used to it)...

Hmm, don't have the sticks, but I do have crutches. It WOULD do me good to practice more and without people looking on! I've always been better at doing things without an audience!

I've been looking at canes and such online... can you recommend "sticks"? Let me know! Thanks! B)

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Remember how it was when you were learning to ride a bike, you knew you could, but you just had to convince yourself that it was all going to be ok.

Er... that's probably not the best analogy for you or me , Mike :lol: :lol:

Yeah, bad analogy -- MC's and all that! When I was 5 or 6, I rode a bike all over the neighborhood... BUT when I was 10 or so, I had a bike wreck that rather killed my confidence in my biking skills. And then I never had another bike. Should've just got back on the sucker! :ph34r:

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I didn't get much in the way of advice about how long I should wear my leg each day so I just used to put it on and leave it that way for most of the day.

As for sticks I just got the plain old adjustable aluminium ones that are given out by our Health Service. Not very sexy but they do the job. :)

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As for sticks I just got the plain old adjustable aluminium ones that are given out by our Health Service. Not very sexy but they do the job. :)

'Lo again,

The 'sticks' -- are you talking about the kind that rather wrap around your forearm, or just regular crutches? I may drag out my 'regular' crutches tomorrow while hubby is at home and see what I can do... I've got to get more time in (and I'll be safe!) than what I'm getting at pt.

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just walking with your new leg is a really good training. if you want to let your muscles grow, go upstairs...one of the best training methods.

but....when you are training alone at home, you may make fault in using the new leg. it hard to get the faults out later and takes more time in pt as learning it right at first. when you learn it in the right way, nobody will later see, that you are an amputee. ;)

ciao thomas

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Hi Marilyn

If you've got contractures, your joints (your real ones) won't be 'locking', which will make you feel less secure when you're walking. I had a similar problem a couple of years ago, after surgery.

What you need is mind over matter...you need to tell the rest of your body that the leg is safe to walk on...then you need to look straight ahead whilst you're walking & avoid concentrating on your prosthesis.

If you have contractures & you feel unstable, then I'd recommend a 'walker' (walking frame) for use at home, instead of forearm crutches...just for a short time, whilst you're getting rid of your contractures & whilst you're gaining your confidence.

Lizzie :)

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Marilyn, trust; it always takes time. I'd ask your PT about which assisted devices would suit you best. I started with a walker no wheels, a walker with wheels, crutches with arm wraps, crutches under the arms, 2 walking sticks and finally one stick. It's just a time and confidence thing-follow their instructions and practise in your owm time.

Mel.

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Today is the 2nd anniversary of my accident. They amputated on April 5 and I got my first leg on May 20th. I wasn't limited on the hours to wear the leg, just don't do too much. Got the leg on Thurs, used crutches as aide. On Fri, after I got home from work, I was resting when nature called. I got up and didn't realize I forgot my crutches til I was in the bathroom. I used the crutches a few times on Sat or until I got used to sock management. That was it. I was on my own.

I walked so well into my first PT session that he said that was all I needed. I disagree, but who am I to question that?

My best advice is to not think about it too much. Put your trust in the leg and just walk. Balance is the key. I know you've had other problems, but try to relax, watch where you're going, put it in gear and go!

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If you have the belief that you can walk and the desire to walk ,all it will take is practice. Don't expect too much too soon. Little advances each time and practice ,practice, practice and you will WALK.

Best wishes

John

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14 months after I lost my leg, my wife and I went to my 35th class reunion, and danced all evening. Especially the "jitterbug". (I had renewed circulation for the first year)

It is my age and my circulation that slows me down today - not my leg. It is just another part of me - like wearing long pants or shoes. A little cumbersome at times, but nothing that can't be worked around.

Remember - the leg was not designed to be a foot. It takes awhile to learn new tasks. Once it does, it becomes second nature.

With your spirit, you'll be doing just fine before you know it.

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Thanks to you all for your information and kind assistance!

I went back to my leg guy this morning and he tweaked some things (whatever it is those guys do!), and I found it MUCH easier to walk! Instead of "white knuckling" on the parallel bars, I actually took my right hand off the bar completely and was able to walk much better than ever before.

I have a walker here at home (no wheels) and I plan to practice this afternoon and see how I do without an audience (and with the changes in my prothesis)... Perhaps I'll surprise the heck outta my physical therapy person tomorrow! (or, at least surprise the heck outta ME!) :blink:

Where would I be without you folks? Freaking out, I'm sure!

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...I actually took my right hand off the bar completely and was able to walk much better than ever before.

That's brilliant news, Marilyn! :D I'm so pleased for you!

Lizzie :)

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Lizzie, this was a HUGE relief to me... Yesterday I was wondering what on earth I was doing wrong! Well, it is hard for me to trust, but even harder if the prothesis needed some tweaking!! I quite much happier! My therapist will be blown away!

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As for sticks I just got the plain old adjustable aluminium ones that are given out by our Health Service. Not very sexy but they do the job. :)

'Lo again,

The 'sticks' -- are you talking about the kind that rather wrap around your forearm, or just regular crutches? I may drag out my 'regular' crutches tomorrow while hubby is at home and see what I can do... I've got to get more time in (and I'll be safe!) than what I'm getting at pt.

No, the sticks I'm referring to are just plain old walking sticks not crutches. The limb centre gave me them and told me not to use my crutches.

Heres' a picture...

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Thanks Murray! Now I know what folks mean when they say sticks! I'll be intimately acquainted with them soon, I'm sure! :blink:

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We call them a "CANE" here in the states. I always keep mine in the car for when I'm tired or my leg sore, but normally seldom use it for just around and about.

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Marilyn,

I had the same 'leg trust' issues too, back when I first got my prostheses.

I remember having to go off and have a word with myself.

Seriously!

I remember having to think things through, logically, and how when I am not wearing my prostheses, they don't just fall down... they stay up, gravity and all. Just thinking about it made me realise that I was being overly-cautious before, which was totally understandable, seeing as one of the by-products of the drugs I received meant that I was left with vertigo along with poor balance. :blink:

In time though, and with plenty of practise, you will learn that you CAN trust your prosthesis. It won't let you down like you imagine it will. This trust will come. Just be patient, and test yourself. Even just being able to stand up for X amount of time without holding on to anything will definitely help.

You're doing really well though. Keep it up!

I'm just waiting for the day now when you'll announce that you are, indeed, walking! ;)

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Instead of "white knuckling" on the parallel bars, I actually took my right hand off the bar completely and was able to walk much better than ever before.

Woohoo, Marilyn! You are doing fantastic, and should be proud of yourself. You are going to be flying in no time, I can just tell! Keep up the good (hard!) work!!

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Jim, Afet, Cheri and Marcus,

I need to get ready for pt, but just wanted to thank you all for your support and helpful words! Afet, glad I'm not the only scardy cat! After the adjustments, it was much easier to trust. And YES, I've had to have talks with myself! Interesting!

Marcus, Yes, my leg guy is pretty good. He made his adjustments and all is good except for the knee. I go back to my knee guy today after pt (whew, after all this time vegetating at home, I'm on the run too much!)... I refuse to have any invasive knee stuff until I can walk first. Maybe another cortisone shot?

Jim, I can see that because of my knee especially, I'll likely keep a cane or two (or sticks for you UK folks!) around for awhile. I found a decent website that featured the adjustible "sticks" and I'll probably order two in the near future.

Even if I have to use sticks, at least I won't be in this dratted wheelchair!!

Thanks to all! :D

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