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Mary Farquhar

Can an ill fitting prosthetic really cause problems?

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Hi all, to those of you who have followed my other threads on here you know my situation. I am just wondering if an ill fitting prosthetic can really cause so much pain and maybe other problems? My Ortho Dr. and the rehab Dr thinks it's my prosthetic that is causing me all the pain. I just don't know if what they make will help as the pain is in a spot where I have to put pressure on when I walk. My prosthetist has already tried something new in the past but I still had pain. He is now once again trying another thing. I just don't think it will help. Tomorrow I will be seeing the rehab prosthetist. I am anxious to see what they will do, hopefully not the same as my prosthetist has already tried. I am just getting more and more frustrated! I have been observing my pain, and soon as I walk in my prosthetic my foot starts to hurt and then my neck and back are full of huge knots. I will go for days without my prosthetic on, but it can take up to weeks before the knots go away which then returns soon as I walk in my prosthetic again. I don't really get any irritation, it's more from the inside, it swells up a bit. I guess once the new prosthetics are made they will see that I still have pain.

Mary

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Mary, as you know, I'm a below-knee amputee...I have no real expertise with a partial foot prosthesis. But I can tell you that when my own prosthesis doesn't fit well, it gives me pain...and when the fit problem is fixed, the pain goes away. Do you have any idea of what your prosthetist did before, and what they are planning on doing this time? Have they explained just what they think the "fit problem" is and why they think it's causing the pain?

If there's a good rationale for trying a new prosthesis, I'd be inclined to try it...but if they're just "re-doing" things they've already tried and can't explain what they're trying to correct, then I'd be concerned.

I know that's not really a big help...is there a possibility of you talking with another partial foot amp to get their opinion on prosthesis fit problems? Or how about the rest of you here, gang...can someone here offer some insight on the possible problems of a partial foot prosthesis???

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Hi Mary

Sorry, I also have no experience regards partial foot prostheses ... but as a below knee amputee myself I would generally agree that if the prosthesis doesn't fit well it could cause problems, not only with the stump but also put out body alignment and tense up muscles etc which in turn can cause aches and pains. I am bilateral b/k and find that if my legs are right, everything else is usually right ... if they are not then I get all manner of aches and pains and my energy levels drop dramatically.

Having said that though, I know you have written on here about your recent surgery, and would say that nerves often take a long time to settle and can still be kicking off long after it looks like everything else has settled back down. You also say you 'go for days without wearing your prosthetic', which I guess is because its hurting, but I have found pain kind of spirals pain (if that makes sense)I am not sure if its the same for all amputees, but I have skin grafting and found that after surgery I had to really slowly build up the tolerance levels, and to some extent have to do this with every new pair I get, so initially its literally hour by hour. Unless I have a major problem with skin, do put them on every day, if I didn't do that I am sure I would encounter problems, not least because of what are probably minute changes in size of the stumps when not wearing the prostheses, but even little changes make a difference.

Like Cheryl says, regards a new prosthesis it mght be a good idea to ask them why they think you are currently getting problems and how the new one will address it, you need to feel confident with what they are doing.

Ann

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I don't have personal experience yet with any prosthesis but I have found some info while researching my upcoming surgery. During amp surgery sometimes the nerves get moved around or when getting cut they are now ending in a new area. What this does is cause your brain to misinterpret the signals. For example a nerve that was on the bottom of your foot may now stop on your arch, so when you have pressure at the arch your brain gets the signal on the nerve that was always on the bottom of your foot. This causes you to tell the prosthetist that you have pain at the very end of your foot when really the issue is at the arch and the prosthetist ends up "fixing" the wrong area of the prosthetic. I read an article where a guy had a problem with his AKA being too tight in the back.....turns out that the tightness was really in the front and the nerve had gotten moved during surgery. The article suggested applying pressure to your limb with your eyes closed. Concentrate on where the pressure is and then open your eyes and see where you are really touching. If the reality doesn't match with your brains interpretation then you need to retrain your brain by stimulating the nerve while looking and identifying the correct area. I don't know if you have done this already or if it is even your issue but it's a possibility so it would be worth giving yourself a foot massage to figure it out. Hope this helps.

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I went for a fitting for my new prosthetic. This is something new, I thought they did this before but they did not. When I did the casting for this new prosthetic they positioned my foot differently. It's hard to explain because you don't know what my amputation looks like. The way they positioned my foot, they are hoping that the spot that hurts will have less weight bearing because of how they positioned my foot. So like I said I did have a fitting, it's not done yet. I can't tell yet if the pain in still there. I only walked for 5 minutes with it. Soon as I put on my prosthetic my foot hurts, then I will go for days without wearing it, I still feel the pain. Once that pain is gone and I touch that pressure spot it still hurts. Many years ago I would get red sores etc....but my prosthetist could always fix it, but not this time. The pain I have is from the inside, so don't think any prosthetic will work. I have already tried different ones. My prosthetist did see my Ortho Dr. and told him all he has done and that were trying something else. My Dr said so she won't need more surgery and my prosthetist said it's on the back burner for now. I am anxious to be able to bring it home to walk with it. I am praying this is it, but I have learned to just stay neutral. In a few weeks I will know which way my life is going. Just to think I may need to prepare for a bka once again. It takes a lot of energy to have to keep preparing for another surgery. BUT I know I will get through all of this, I have lots of support around me.

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Well....I finally get to pick up my new prosthetic Thursday. I pray that this one will work for me, if not I will be seeing my Ortho Dr again. I will finally be even at the hips, so hopefully the neck, back and sciatic nerve pain will go away? I feel more comfy in it, just not sure about the pain yet. I will know soon!!

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Well....I finally get to pick up my new prosthetic Thursday. I pray that this one will work for me, if not I will be seeing my Ortho Dr again. I will finally be even at the hips, so hopefully the neck, back and sciatic nerve pain will go away? I feel more comfy in it, just not sure about the pain yet. I will know soon!!

I hope all is well with your new set-up!

I found help with a good set of orthotic insoles. All too often we forget about our feet/foot which are now taking on so much more in weight distribution and support . This will also help with the ankle, knee, hips and back. Correct balance is everything for us!

You can get some decent insoles for about $40 US.

Good wishes with your new set-up!

KB

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