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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
LauraG

Prosthesis or Crutches?

  

51 members have voted

  1. 1. Prosthesis or Crutches?

    • Prosthesis
      40
    • Crutches
      6


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I've often wondered why it is most of the rehab professionals insist that the only proper way for an amputee to be 'rehabilitated' (I use the quotes with a bit of irony) is to have a prosthesis fitted, no matter how badly, and can't imagine someone feeling more comfortable and functional if they choose to forego the use of an artificial limb for crutches. I've heard a few PT's say they consider this a failure in terms of the rehab process and some go as far as to blame the patient for what I consider a perfectly reasonable personal choice. Is this the same in more industrialized nations?

This is, of course, more of an issue with unilateral above-the-knee amputees, as we are less functional on our prosthetics than even bilateral below-the-knee amps and a lot of bilateral AKA's choose or have to use a wheelchair for reasons of either function or comfort.

Personally, I choose crutches more often than my prosthesis, which I turn to for certain occasions when I prefer appearance to comfort, but I know my preferences stem from my rather poor peformance potential as far as prosthetics are concerned.

Sound off!

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i use my crutches lots in the morning then about 11 iput my prothese on .i cannot wear the prothese all day to much pain in my stump .perfer prothese as more able to do things i want to also more pratical .am still waiting to have a leg that fits .so crutches just used not to be in pain

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I have been wearing a prosthesis since I was 9 months old and have only spent very short periods of time on crutches due to surgeries where I had no choice but to use them so I could get around. The only time I have used a wheelchair was when I had revision surgery and I mostly only used the wheelchair at work and on the weekends when I went shopping the other times I used the crutches. I hated being in these situations because I am so active and wear my leg all day from the time I get out of bed to the time I go back to bed usually from 5:00 am to 10 pm.

The people who do decided crutches or wheelchair is there choice of mobility that is their choice and while it's not my choice I would never tell them they are a failure. For a health professional to tell them that they are a failure is unexceptable and I think I would tell them so.....

My two cents.

Brenda

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I use crutches exclusively, but would love to use a prosthesis, if I could find one that is comfortable and not too heavy to wear. As LauraG said it is much more difficult to fit an AK amputee, but we wait and hope for that great leg. :blink:

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I use crutches exclusively, but would love to use a prosthesis, if I could find one that is comfortable and not too heavy to wear. As LauraG said it is much more difficult to fit an AK amputee, but we wait and hope for that great leg. :blink:

I'm stunned by that, I'm an Right AKA, and NEVER use crutches. The fact that I have an arthrodesed right elbow (locked at 90 deg) doesn't help as I would need to use a 'gutter' crutch on that side, but I have worn prostheses for more than 20 years and cannot imagine life without them. You must have some underlying problem to not be wearing a prosthesis, surely. Each to his own, there's nothing wrong with using crutches explusively if that's what you choose, but surely it isn't just because you can't get one fitted. If you don't have any special reason for not being fitted with a prosthesis you can wear daily, there is something seriously wrong!

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Oneblueleg,

My AKA is actually a hemipelvectomy. I don't know of any others on this board, so I just say AKA. This is the most difficult to fit and first I have to be pain free to wear a prosthesis, it is a heavy bucket and a titanium leg. It weighs about 15 lbs and is not worth the effort. Until I am pain free and can find a lighter leg, I am content with crutches.

Phyl

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Hi, I used crutches only at first, until I received my limb, after that I wore the limb from the time I got up, until I went to bed. Now, I only use my cruthes when necessary, that's usually at night, if I have to get up. However, where we all have different types of amputations, we all have to do what's best for ourselves and never mind what others think we should or shouldn't be doing. It certainly doesn't make one a failure, and for anyone to ever say such a thing, is in my opinion, a failure in compasion for others.

Sheila

Keep Smiling :)

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My AKA is actually a hemipelvectomy.

That explains it... I can see clearly now the rain has gone!

Hope your pain does ease enough for you to get what you want.

I'm now out of my depth now as I am only an AKA with a reasonable stump... good luck.

& Sheila... "It certainly doesn't make one a failure, and for anyone to ever say such a thing, is in my opinion, a failure in compasion for others."

...I couldn't agree more

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Oneblueleg & Sheila,

My sentiments exactly. Thanks for the positive encouragement. We are all at different levels, but all are remaining positive and continuing with our lives.

Good luck to all

Phyl

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Oneblueleg & Phyl:

Oneblueleg, thanks and I truly believe if more people had compasion for what others are going through, perhaps they wouldn't be so quick to judge, what others should or shouldn't be doing. So long as we're all doing the best that our abilities allows us, then to me, we're all heading in the right direction, therefore, can never be a failure. :D

Phyl, you are very welcome for the encouragement. I feel that's really what it's all about, thinking positive thoughts to try help each other. Besides, to think negative ones, takes to much of my energy!! :( Good Luck and may you be pain free soon.

Hey, speaking about being at different levels, I still haven't found the Princess..... Help!!!! :lol:

Sheila

Keep Smiling :)

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I'm torn. I use both. I'm a hip disartic and still looking for that leg thats not cumbersome and hot. bbb

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I used cruches (and hopping) for 5 months after my aputation, but I will never look at them again if I have a choice. They limited my independance and there's absolutely no way you can cover up a pair of cruches. Before I did everything I could to avoid the stairs, but now I take them two at a time.

The heat factor was a problem at first, but I my leg has become acustomed to it and I don't have any problems. Many people on here have mentioned things about leg weight and trust me what feels heavy in you hands, isn't heavy on a strong leg. It becomes a part of your body, not exactly like a real one, but normal to you. I've found that a knee that does some of the work for you is lighter on the limb because it doesn't pull as much when you take a step. (that is if you get the right adjustment)

In short, if you can get a leg to work out for you, it's the way to go because you'll have your life back.

Nicole :)

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I had to use a wheelchair for a year after my amputation. Having arthritis meant that I couldn't use cruthes easily. I couldn't support myself on crutches, so had many falls whilst trying to use them. I did have a zimmer frame with arm rests on, I could get around the house with that very well, but it was such a monstrosity, it would have attracted too many unwanted looks :o if I had used it outside the home.

After ironing out all the snags and hitches you get when you first have a prosthesis, I realise I am lucky to have one that fits with resonable comfort. Whilst it will never feel like my own leg would feel, it has become a part of me, and is a very good second best. I do prefer wearing it to using a wheelchair. It's my way of life now, I get up in the morning and put my leg on, I feel it gives me my independance, although I still use the wheelchair during the night.

Our life now is about mobility in whichever way we are able to get around. Each amputee has to do what he or she is able to do and what feels right for themselves, whatever that may be, The way I look at it is, any form of mobility is better than none at all.

I must just add, after reading the posts in this forum, I really admire people's courage, strength and achievements since becoming amputees. It makes you realise all is not lost when you lose a limb.

Take Care Every-one,

Emma-rose.

;)

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l do like to wear my leg most of the time but now that l have had my right leg off bilateral I'm stuck in a eletric wheelchair untill l get my new leg then I'm off well l hope so, there is one small problem I do have my left knee is stiffening up and I don't now what to do l am seeing my physio but no joy as yet any one out their can help please Keith

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Due to stamina probs, I use a combination of prosthesis, crutches and wheelchair. i.e. I've just returned from a winter break in the Old Town of Benidorm, not the Brit part. For the flight and journey I used my prosthesis and crutches. I pre-ordered a wheelchair which was delivered to the hotel I was staying at. For excursions I used the wheelchair and prosthesis. For shopping, and the beach promonade I used the wheelchair. In the hotel I just used the wheelchair. Which was ideal, due to it being all inclusive for food and drink. So no matter how much I drank, I didn't have to worry about falling over :D

Best as ever

Steve

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Guest bearlover

I only use crutches when I take the leg off. Or I walk on my knees :o They have a "knee walker" which Iam looking into. Its quite cool. @ wheelchair.com Iam hoping my insurance will help pay for it.. ;)

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You say that all health professionals think the only way to be rehabilitated is to have a prosthesis fitted - I would have to beg to differ with you there.We are taught that you should always give the person the chance to try walking on the prosthesis, even if there leg is not perfect, but it is ultimately up to the patient as to what they prefere. When I qualify I would never force anything onto a patient.

With me I either walk or hop, there is no crutches option, as i don't own a pair :D Current mode of transfer - hop still.

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I only use them to get in and out of the shower, but I would think that all amputees should own a pair of crutches for the occasional unexpected need. All that hopping really isn't good for the joints. I do some short hops, but very few.

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most part of day i'm on crutches - especial for outdoor activities - i use prosthetic only when i need arms free :(

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most part of day i'm on crutches - especial for outdoor activities - i use prosthetic only when i need arms free :(

No need for the sad-faced yellow guy, though. As I said in the thread title and in the first post, wearing a prosthesis or using crutches is a choice that depends on comfort and functionality... or it should be considered as such.

Now how about on of these? :)

;)

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Guest bearlover

Strange as it may sound. I usually use my knees to get around. :rolleyes: I do have knee pads..Only at home not away from home or with company, Then I use crutches.. ;)

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You say that all health professionals think the only way to be rehabilitated is to have a prosthesis fitted - I would have to beg to differ with you there.We are taught that you should always give the person the chance to try walking on the prosthesis, even if there leg is not perfect, but it is ultimately up to the patient as to what they prefere. When I qualify I would never force anything onto a patient.

With me I either walk or hop, there is no crutches option, as i don't own a pair :D Current mode of transfer - hop still.

I was told that I didn't have to have to walk if I didn't want to it was up to me. I chose to walk only to have them taken off me because of damage to my legs.

Bear, I use kneepads as well, use the wheelchair at work for convenience and leave it in the car when I get home. I do have a height issue though, my wife hides the biscuits in the now out of reach cupboards :rolleyes:

Sparky

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Before I lost weight 2-1/2 years ago and finally got a leg that fit me beautifully. I almost always used crutches during my 3 decades as an amputee (except for one other 3-year-interval until 15 years ago). The bottom line for me was always functionality and quality of life. I was not an athletic person; I needed mobility for work (a mostly sedentary job) and for traveling (many solo trips across the U.S. and to Europe). I was highly functional and rarely needed help. I had many ill-fitting legs that made me look nice in a skirt, but I couldn't walk comfortably more than 50 feet in them. I probably would have continued to use crutches had it not been for the fact that my one remaining knee was steadily deteriorating with age and my morbid obesity, and it was becoming extremely painful to walk, and the orthopedist was beginning to talk about a total knee replacement (that would have been a nightmare rehab, with a new knee and no spare one on the other side to help take over). Happily, with my weight loss the knee pain has stopped.

I still uses crutches quite a bit around the house and on rare "blister" days, but rarely venture out of the house with them anymore. I hope I never lose my touch with them; they were my addtional "legs" for a long time and I'm grateful I had them.

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I personally, use what i want to use to allow me to do what I want to do do. Altho. must point out that I am not a new amputee, and after many years of wearing limbs, know my limitations and as a bilateral don't see it as a choice between a prosthesis or crutches.

Most of the time I wear the prosthesis, however, occasionaly for whatever reason, I will use crutches as well as the prosthesis, doing that might keep me more mobile for a few days when i have a problem with the limb or stump, or similarly I may decide to use a stick or sometimes I use a wheelchair, with or without the prosthesis.

I think its all about getting on with your life and doing what you want to do. When I started out on this journey, the idea was very much that you walked and got out of the wheelchair as soon as you could, which I did really, and for many years didn't have a wheelchair, but most of us know we get times we can't wear the limb or we might have "overdone" the walking on a particular day, so there were quite often days or weeks where I just had to rest up and missed out on lots, which is ok for a couple of days but being a mum it began to cause problems for more than that.

I came to a point when I really had to rethink my stratagies,having had a long period of not getting a limb I could wear, began to feel my life was falling apart, have got to say that the healthcare professionals I came across were very unhelpful, with very little knowledge of the daily life of a bilateral amputee, with some suggesting that "I shouldn't be doing certain things" that had been part and package of my life for many years, not to mention lack of knowledge about an appropriate wheelchair.

I did find my new approach difficult at first, as the "walking" bit had been quite ingrained in me, I think too my family found it equally difficult, but i have learn't using what I need when I need to, actually keeps me more mobile. It works for me, but then everyone has to find their own way.

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