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Freddy

How do I help this amputee?

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This guy I know is a LAK like me. He has a C-Leg and the new socket with the rubber liner that you don and pull yourself into the socket. He cannot or will not walk without crutches. It has been a year since he received the leg. Granted he is much older than I was when I got my leg, but I walked out of the prosthesist's without any aids when I got my leg. Another amputee has told him he should learn to walk without crutches. He got upset. So far I have kept my mouth shut, but I want to encourage him without upsetting him. It is not as if he is being asked to run, just to walk. He has a long stump like mine and should have little problem controlling the leg. Today he was complaining about a loose socket. I told him how I had the same problem and had put 1/4 inch foam in between the frame and the socket to make a tighter fit. I am twice this guy's size and have a suction socket and Mauch knee. I walk circles around him. How can I help him to at least to be able to walk the way his leg was designed to? Any ideas?

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Diificult one... slow but sure encouragement. Trouble is though, you can't help him until he's got a socket that he feels comfortable with. If it's loose, there's no wonder he doesn't feel confident. I wouldn't advise trying to sort it himself with wedging foam between the frame and socket, that could cause even worse problems.

Sad that he's wasting a c-leg that someone more active could get good use out of, he's clearly doesn't need it.

Good luck.

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It sounds as if it a matter of trust...he doesn't trust his leg.. and fear..... they sort of go hand in hand.. if you are afraid, then you won't trust the leg.. What if you offer to go along sometime when he goes to the prosthetist? Just as a friend.. make a day of it.. Leg guy, lunch,........lunch, leg guy.... If he is older, he may very well be afraid of falling too..

It sounds as if you have a lot of patience, and that's probably going to be what it takes to ever get him to trust taking the first step.. Does he use his crutches/canes at home? Does he ever take a step or two from one place to another in kitchen or bathroom with out them? Maybe what he needed is some good pt that maybe he wasn't allowed due to insurance reasons. It could be anything..

Maybe, just having an easy, conversation about it, will be the best way to go.. or just a well placed question or two...more like......

I think the biggest question that needs answered is... did he use these aides before he had his amputation? Sometimes, they become a way of habit and that they feel insecure about not using them.

No matter what, if he became upset from your other friend asking, just make sure that you go gently and easily.. You know how it is when you feel like someone is chewing you out.. Me, I just get really stubborn, but if he got upset, then I would say that there is something he is afraid of, and it's going to take finding out what his fear is first.... Maybe that would be the better topic of conversation...... fears of being an amputee.... then, it might come out.. you might ask, is there ever anything, being an amputee that he is worried or concerned about..(Mine, being in the back field or out in the timber looking for a cow,and having to butt scoot all the way to the house cause my leg broke.)

Those are some options anyway...... food for thought, maybe........

Let us know how it goes......

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As OBL and Higgy have said it is all about trust. Some people find it easy to trust these inanimate objects we attach to ourselves, whilst others don't. Ill-fitting sockets, odd alignments, age, pre-existing medical conditions...etc., can also affect how well someone trusts a prosthesis. One thing he doesn't need (which you've probably worked out for yourself :) ) is that he doesn't need criticism. I'm sure he could cope with lots of encouragement though. :)

I have two suggestions: You could start taking him out places (places that he finds interesting, where he'll be distracted) and where he'll eventually find having two crutches a real pain (e.g. somewhere where he has to carry something). And also, once he's got his socket sorted out, you could try suggesting that he swops his crutches for nordic walking poles (poles aren't as substantial as crutches, but they'll give him some perceived stability).

Lizzie :)

PS Decorating/DIY or gardening will also help him to exercise muscles that will help his stability, without him even thinking about it. ;)

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And it may be as simple as being afraid that he CAN'T walk without the crutches. I had those "what if I can't do it" thoughts. Fear of failure can be a huge obstacle.

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He could also simply have balked at the previous "questioner." When you do bring up the issue, don't put it in terms of "you SHOULD be able to walk without crutches." Telling someone what they SHOULD think or do can be a real turn off. Maybe something more like, "That's supposed to be a very stable knee; you may be able to not rely on the crutches as much" would put a bee in his bonnet.

It's also possible that he has an underlying problem that doesn't "show" but which makes crutches and a c-leg the best solution for him. Perhaps a little questioning along those lines would yield some information.

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It's also possible that he has an underlying problem that doesn't "show" but which makes crutches and a c-leg the best solution for him. Perhaps a little questioning along those lines would yield some information.

Like what?

A c-leg and crutches?! That's like buying a racing car to go to the shops... I honestly can't think of anything that someone using crutches will get out of a c-leg that they wouldn't get from a MUCH cheaper leg.

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This won’t win me any friends in the popular stakes, BUT does he really want any help off you?

If he does, take him out put him in the middle of an empty space,

then …………………………………………………………….simply hand him a couple of walking stick and take his crutches off him and walk away.

He will then have to decide what he really wants to do.

Come on its not that hard to walk, and you know as well as I do the longer he uses the crutches the harder it will be to give them up.

However saying that IF there is a medical reason why he has to use crutches I agree with OBL what a waist of a good c leg.

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when I was let out of rehab last march with my 1st leg I was told NO CRUTCHES - bad habits , dependance and wont be able to walk proerly. started with the 2 cruciform based walking sticks and progressed to ordnary to none.

I am surprised that the rehab centre has managed things so badly - esp a C-leg candidate. If he want to walk then it should be back to the bars at the clinic, bin the crutches and get some lessons.

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Sorry Freddy, if I was you I wouldn't interfere.

Personally, I would say so what that he is using crutches. I have been on a bit of a learning curve myself over the past ten years and have found that sockets are not always comfortable, you can't always get them adjusted properly, you can't always get new ones quickly made either. All this adds up to things being pretty uncomfortable and pain makes walking really difficult and can throw you off balance and a certain adjustment that works for one person, may not work for another. You say this chap is older than you, I am not sure how old you are but things do get more difficult as we get older, and you may not know what other health problems this chap may have, we are all different, and we all react differently.

I am currently, waiting for revision surgery and am myself using crutches on and off at the moment, I am also using a wheelchair for part of the day, I think we have to do what we have to do to keep going and if this chap feels happy using crutches at the moment thats up to him and its not really helpful for other users to make these sort of comments and believe me, I have sat in many fitting rooms over the years and heard very similar comments .

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It being a matter of a "waste" or not really isn't up to us to judge.. The question that was asked, was how could he help him....

In the US, due to regulations, insurance caps, etc. it's not uncommon, to see someone that could easily be 80 years old given a c-leg. It might be stupid, and a "waste" but, if they are only issued one, then sometimes, that's what they are given.. It can ridiculous for some of them, because at that age, a hydraulic knee might be more sufficient for some of them, where as, for others, the c-leg is the best option.. It's done because of insurance purposes..They can often be allowed only one leg...period.

I think it goes back to finding out why he is afraid to loose the crutches.. Does he have some vascular disease that is causing problems in the other foot. Dizziness, or vertigo?It could be something as simple as he really doesn't understand the mechanics of the leg and how it works.. I think, until those questions are answered, that as was suggested before, finding out why is probably the best path to take at first.. gentle... The idea is to help him, not make him more stubborn and intent on sticking with the crutches.

Please let us know the outcome of this, will you?

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It being a matter of a "waste" or not really isn't up to us to judge.. The question that was asked, was how could he help him....

In the US, due to regulations, insurance caps, etc. it's not uncommon, to see someone that could easily be 80 years old given a c-leg. It might be stupid, and a "waste" but, if they are only issued one, then sometimes, that's what they are given.. It can ridiculous for some of them, because at that age, a hydraulic knee might be more sufficient for some of them, where as, for others, the c-leg is the best option.. It's done because of insurance purposes..They can often be allowed only one leg...period.

I think it goes back to finding out why he is afraid to loose the crutches.. Does he have some vascular disease that is causing problems in the other foot. Dizziness, or vertigo?It could be something as simple as he really doesn't understand the mechanics of the leg and how it works.. I think, until those questions are answered, that as was suggested before, finding out why is probably the best path to take at first.. gentle... The idea is to help him, not make him more stubborn and intent on sticking with the crutches.

Please let us know the outcome of this, will you?

It's a point for discussion Higgy.... it IS a waste, whether it's up to us to judge or not in your opinion.

A lighter, more simple, mechanical stabilising knee with a simple swing control would without any doubt be a better prescription for someone using crutches.

What does 'insurance reasons' mean? I think I know what you are alluding to, however, it makes no sense, whether the insurance company are spending huge amounts of money or not, if the leg is unsuitable for the user, the insurance company aren't doing the best job for the insured.

I suspect there are other issues here. Like you say, until you know what the other issues might be, it's difficult to assist...

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Hi, Freddy

My 2 cents....

Even with the best knees, feet, etc., an amputee will not be able to walk well if the socket doesn't fit. An older man came shuffling into my prosthetist's office last year. He was bent over and using a cane - and wearing a C-leg. A few months later I happened to see the same man back in the walking room and discovered, not only that this man was not "old" at all...but he was walking straight and confidently with his C-leg AND a properly fitting socket. Now he's out playing golf and enjoying his life. Taking away his C-leg would not have solved the problem.

If you have a good prosthetist, you might offer to set up an appt. with him to evaluate this gentleman's socket fit.

Karen

AKA

Orlando, Florida

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It's a point for discussion Higgy.... it IS a waste, whether it's up to us to judge or not in your opinion.

A lighter, more simple, mechanical stabilising knee with a simple swing control would without any doubt be a better prescription for someone using crutches.

What does 'insurance reasons' mean? I think I know what you are alluding to, however, it makes no sense, whether the insurance company are spending huge amounts of money or not, if the leg is unsuitable for the user, the insurance company aren't doing the best job for the insured.

I suspect there are other issues here. Like you say, until you know what the other issues might be, it's difficult to assist...

Well, OBL, I guess it is a point for discussion, to an extent.And I'm really not disagreeing with you about people not ready to have/use a leg like a c-leg, being given one.I just meant that to make it confrontational for this gentleman, might not help anything at all.....What ever the reason is that he is using the crutches would be the first priority.. Maybe it is the leg, but then again, it might not be...

What I meant by "insurance reasons" is that.. for some insurance companies, they may only pay for one leg.. period... so.. some CP's will put the best leg under the person that they can, so that they will have it.Instead of working their way up to it.. It's sad, but it is reality.. (Some people have to live with what their insurance company mandates they will pay for.)I've talked with people who have had that done.. One aquaintance's mother was put on a c-leg, because that's what she was going to get.One leg,only One time..Period..... She's over 80 years old... with a lot of other problems. But, due to the fact that insurance would only pay for one leg.. being an ak, that's what she was given..Sometimes, it's not even the insurance company, but Medicare that is paying for it, and that's what their requirements might be... Or, simply the person has to take what they can afford, and if it's only one, then they might have to stick with what has been given to them..

Now please, don't everyone go jumping on me..I am only trying to explain, as asked, what I was trying to say. I know this thread can go serious in a heart beat when you get into the subject of who can/will pay for what.. Insurance company, Medicare, the national health plans in the United Kingdom or Australia..(sorry, can't remember their names). Being an international forum, this is, I'm sure handled differently in every country. All I know is that in the United States, that there are SSSOOOOO many variables, to that question/explanation, it can make your head spin.. I also realize that a good CP will put what he thinks is the proper "leg'' under someone, and not just try to look good filling a quota for a company. But, there are always a few out there, that look to their own good and not ours as well..

Back to the original thread though, why was he using aides to walk? That is the hundred dollar question.....

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Back to the original thread though, why was he using aides to walk? That is the hundred dollar question.....

Does it matter Higgy? Many people with two legs use aides to walk.

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To me, no.... Ann it doesn't matter.. I was responding to a question that was asked...Freddy had asked if there was a way, and how to help to talk with the gentleman about his leg...I was simply responding to him. And to other questions that were asked of me.....

See, I said that this thread was probably going to get me in trouble for no reason....................... :( :( :(

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I understand what you're saying Higgy, about chosing one leg and working up to it. That's a school of thought that I can see working, I think it has merit, aside from why it happens (insurance or belief it's the right thing to do).

krazy give a good account of why this might indeed be the right prescription for this man... who knows Freddy? he might be running circles round you the next time you see him!

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krazy give a good account of why this might indeed be the right prescription for this man... who knows Freddy? he might be running circles round you the next time you see him!

Wasn't that reason suggested by a few of us suggested before, OBL? :) You really were getting yourself a bit hot under the collar about this, weren't you? ;) I can understand why (and I agree with you) too: in the UK getting a C-leg is a bit of a postcode lottery and it's not fair to those who aren't in the right area and who need a C-leg. :( However, we don't know why this friend of Freddie's isn't walking without crutches and Higgy et al are right - it isn't up to us to judge him.

Lizzie :)

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Thanks everyone for the help. This guy had fallen recently and cannot don his prosthesis at present due to a dislocated thumb. He is using a wheelchair now. When he gets back to wearing his leg I will ask him why he needs the crutches. It may well be the fit and he does not feel stable. Maybe he just needs time to get used to the leg. After seeing me walk one would think he would want to be able to walk without crutches. I was stuck on crutches for 10 weeks last summer after surgery and they sucked, but they were better than nothing at all.

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Thanks everyone for the help. This guy had fallen recently and cannot don his prosthesis at present due to a dislocated thumb. He is using a wheelchair now. When he gets back to wearing his leg I will ask him why he needs the crutches. It may well be the fit and he does not feel stable. Maybe he just needs time to get used to the leg. After seeing me walk one would think he would want to be able to walk without crutches. I was stuck on crutches for 10 weeks last summer after surgery and they sucked, but they were better than nothing at all.

There is an AK Amputee that I know here in the states who is still using crutches with his prosthesis. He has a bad contracture, so has trouble walking. He sees my prosthetist and physical therapist, so I assume he is in good hands.

I know that I used my cane longer than my prosthetist thought I should, but I wasn't ready. My Physical therapist didn't push me and I was happy for that. Took me going to the conference last year to finally let it go! lol

Be open hearted, set a good example and be a good listener. Maybe get him out to events with other amps. judging probably won't help.

GOOD LUCK!

Susan

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krazy give a good account of why this might indeed be the right prescription for this man... who knows Freddy? he might be running circles round you the next time you see him!

Wasn't that reason suggested by a few of us suggested before, OBL? :) You really were getting yourself a bit hot under the collar about this, weren't you? ;) I can understand why (and I agree with you) too: in the UK getting a C-leg is a bit of a postcode lottery and it's not fair to those who aren't in the right area and who need a C-leg. :( However, we don't know why this friend of Freddie's isn't walking without crutches and Higgy et al are right - it isn't up to us to judge him.

Lizzie :)

Stop trying to provoke me you naughty girl... you can be very mischievous :lol: . I still can't see anywhere else anyone else said what krazy said, but it doesn't matter does it? Sorry if I've offended you in any way.

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This guy I know is a LAK like me. He has a C-Leg and the new socket with the rubber liner that you don and pull yourself into the socket. He cannot or will not walk without crutches. It has been a year since he received the leg. Granted he is much older than I was when I got my leg, but I walked out of the prosthesist's without any aids when I got my leg. Another amputee has told him he should learn to walk without crutches. He got upset. So far I have kept my mouth shut, but I want to encourage him without upsetting him. It is not as if he is being asked to run, just to walk. He has a long stump like mine and should have little problem controlling the leg. Today he was complaining about a loose socket. I told him how I had the same problem and had put 1/4 inch foam in between the frame and the socket to make a tighter fit. I am twice this guy's size and have a suction socket and Mauch knee. I walk circles around him. How can I help him to at least to be able to walk the way his leg was designed to? Any ideas?

It's very thoughtful of you to want to encourage this guy, without upsetting him, to do the best he can. Though I'm sure in his mind, he believes, that he is doing his best and for now, that's where he wants to be. However, tomorrow, next week, next month may be a different story, But until he's comfortable with it and makes the decision for himself, I don't believe any thing will convince him differently. So perhaps it's best just to comment on the good he's done so far. Then every so often you might say, "like how far did ya get without the crutches today my friend"? :D

You know, I'm a LBK and my leg also was designed to walk without any assistance. But for me it didn't work that way. It's been twelve years and still when I go any distance, I need the cane, mostly to steady me and take some of the pressure off the left side when I walk. I know ppl have wondered at times, why am I still walking with a cane. All I can say to that is, everyone is different and for whatever his reason may be, trust, fearing to put pressure down into the socket, fear of falling or just likes the security of the crutches, it's obvious that he's not going to part with them any time soon. So I think I'd just say, "when and if you're ready, I'd like to help you put down those crutches" and leave it at that for the time being. ;)

Sheila :)

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krazy give a good account of why this might indeed be the right prescription for this man... who knows Freddy? he might be running circles round you the next time you see him!

Wasn't that reason suggested by a few of us suggested before, OBL? :) You really were getting yourself a bit hot under the collar about this, weren't you? ;) I can understand why (and I agree with you) too: in the UK getting a C-leg is a bit of a postcode lottery and it's not fair to those who aren't in the right area and who need a C-leg. :( However, we don't know why this friend of Freddie's isn't walking without crutches and Higgy et al are right - it isn't up to us to judge him.

Lizzie :)

Stop trying to provoke me you naughty girl... you can be very mischievous :lol: . I still can't see anywhere else anyone else said what krazy said, but it doesn't matter does it? Sorry if I've offended you in any way.

I don't know what you mean! :rolleyes:

But, seriously, OBL, if you search this page for 'socket', you'll find that not only did you and krazy mention socket fit, but ann and I did too. :)

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Here I sit in my wheelchair and I kinda think that first impressions are not always the correct ass umptions. I have my right leg amputated above the knee and I cannot walk due to motor neuropathy in my left leg damaged due to many surgeries on it. I am asked at least two maybe three times a day when I am going to get my leg so I can walk. Let me tell you I wish I could be waiting for a prosthesis, however no such luck, maybe there are some other problems with this gentleman that are not so evident, in any case it must be nice to have a friend like you who wants to help. Keep appearing in his life, he will come round to talk to you about why....... -joy

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