What type of shoes can I wear with my orthosis (brace)?
The best shoes to wear with a brace are tie or velcro closing walking type shoes or sneakers. Shoes need to have enough depth (room) to fit a brace into the shoe in addition to your foot. Generally, ½ size larger than your usual shoe will work well with a brace. It is important for the brace to be fit with the shoes you intend to wear most often, so bring that pair along to your initial visit.
How long will I need to use these braces?
Your physician will determine how long you will need to wear a brace. Ongoing communication between yourself, your physician and your orthotist will provide you with the best information and outcome.
How often will the brace need to be replaced?
Frequency of replacement depends on whether you are growing, your activity level (wear and breakage), and if your needs change. Some braces are still appropriate after 6 or more years and in some cases, we’ve replaced braces for patients (usually due to growth) in as little as 6 months. If you have a question about whether your brace needs to be replaced, please ask us.
Will I be able to walk without a shoe?
While all braces are different, in most cases, the answer is no. Shoes are usually required to keep your brace on your foot. Shoes also provide traction since the surface of the brace is slippery and may present a hazard. There is also a chance the brace will get damaged if not worn with a shoe.
How long will it take me to get used to my brace?
This varies from person to person, but the average is 10 days. Patients are usually given a wearing schedule when they receive the brace. This schedule allows the patient to adjust to the brace, helps assure no fitting problems develop, and will help the wearer quickly identify any issues which may require a visit the the orthotist for an adjustment.
May I drive with my brace?
Be sure and speak with your physician about driving. If permitted, be sure to let us know at the initial appointment. Most of our patients find that after adjusting to their brace they are able to drive without any problems. Some patients do need adaptive equipment in their cars in order to drive, but this is evaluated on a case by case basis.
Do I need Physical Therapy to help me use my brace?
The need for physical therapy is determined on a case by case basis. Some patients do need physical therapy after receiving a brace in order to receive gait training and/or donning or doffing follow-up. Be sure to let us know if you have questions about physical therapy.
How do I choose the right prosthetist or prosthetic company?
You will be working with your prosthetist for a long time, so here are a few things to consider when selecting where to receive services.
Be sure you can establish a professional and comfortable relationship with the company and prosthetist you select. A successful relationship means you are able to have an open and honest level of communication and feel comfortable in their presence and office environment. In addition, be sure your prosthetist is certified. At BioMetrics, our clinicians are ABC Certified which we believe provides the highest level of accreditation. Lastly, you will need periodic evaluations and adjustments, so select a company with a location that is convenient. If you need to travel long distances, you may be tempted to delay or avoid appointments and that may lead to unwanted medical complications.
Remember, you have a choice on where you receive service, so set up an appointment to interview potential prosthetists before making a final selection.
Does wearing a prosthesis hurt?
You will feel pressure from your prosthetic socket around your limb but it shouldn’t hurt. If anything does hurt, let us know right away so the fit and mechanics can be evaluated as soon as possible.
How long does it take to get my prosthesis?
If you are a recent amputee your physician will determine when you are ready to be measured or casted for your prosthesis. Usually, a shrinker (a special elastic “sock”) is worn to help remove swelling from your limb for one to two weeks prior to being measured for your socket. After you have been measured, a diagnostic “check” socket is fit approximately a week and a half later. If all goes well, we may be able to complete your prosthesis from that fitting, but there are times we need to do successive diagnostic fittings. We are in contact with you every step of the way and frequently let you know the status of your prosthesis.
Do I need to purchase special shoes to wear with my prosthesis?
The best shoes to wear with your prosthesis are a walking shoe or sneaker. If this is your first prosthesis, remember that you will be learning to walk again and therefore the best shoes are those that will increase your stability and mobility.
May I get my prosthesis wet?
The components of a daily prosthesis are designed to withstand occasional exposure to wetness such as rain. However, if you plan to swim or submerge your prosthesis on a regular basis, a water prosthesis should be considered. This is in addition to the prosthesis you use on daily basis. These specialized prostheses are designed to quickly drain water and are made of different components to withstand prolonged exposure to water.
How soon can I wear my prosthesis for the entire day?
When you obtain your prosthesis, we will provide you with a wearing schedule. Following the schedule will help you adjust to your prosthesis and also assure a proper fit as you gradually begin to use the prosthesis more and more. Once the weaning period is over, the goal is for you to put the prosthesis on in the morning with your clothes and then take it off at night before going to sleep.
How often will my prosthesis need to be replaced?
In most cases, replacements are needed because your body has changed in shape or size and something isn’t fitting correctly. For example, if you gained or lost 25 lbs., it would probably be necessary to have a new prosthesis made. Other reasons may include a change in your activity level, growth, or general wear and tear. In order to keep abreast of any replacement needs, we recommend that you be seen by your prosthetist at least every 6 months for follow-up.
Does my prosthesis need a lot of maintenance?
We recommend visiting your prosthetist every 6 months for follow-up and maintenance. Daily maintenance of the actual prosthesis is minimal, but the care of your residual limb is extremely important. We assist our patients in learning about proper limb care because it is crucial to having a successful experience using a prosthesis.
Will I be able to do everything that I used to do before my amputation?
Although this varies from person to person, you should be able to do almost everything that you did prior to your amputation. Much depends on the level of amputation, and your general health. When possible, be sure to speak with your physician and prosthetist about your specific activity goals prior to your amputation procedure and during your initial office visit.
May I drive with my prosthesis?
Many factors go into determining the ability to drive and because it is a complex issue, it is looked at on a case by case basis. It is also important to consult your local Department of Motor Vehicles for any requirements. Our priority and the priority of your medical providers is first and foremost your safety and the safety of others so that is factored into the decision making process. Be sure to speak with us about your driving goals at your initial visit.
What do I do with an old prosthesis and/or orthosis?
Due to federal regulations, braces and prostheses no matter how new and regardless of condition, may not be recycled in any way within the United States. However, we are pleased to accept donations for Physicians for Peace, a non-profit organization that provides used adaptive devices to medical care givers in developing nations. Items accepted for donation should be in excellent to good condition.
Is the cost of my prosthesis/orthosis covered by insurance?
This depends on the type of insurance you have. Our office will help you determine what your policy covers, and explore other funding sources as needed.
Does the prosthesis/orthosis come with any sort of warranty or guarantee?
We warranty each new device against defects, workmanship and materials for a full 90 days from the day you receive your device. Any non-warranty claims will be evaluated on a case by case basis, and we provide a repair estimate prior to performing any repairs. Keep in mind that physical changes of a patient are not covered under this warranty (i.e., edema, weight fluctuations) since we have no control over such matters.
How long will the prosthesis/orthosis last before it is outgrown and needs to be replaced?
This depends on how fast the child is growing. When we design a pediatric prosthesis and/or brace, we keep in mind that our patient is active and growing. It is our goal to design the device to last as long as possible, while not compromising its therapeutic value. We recommend that children come in for a visit every 6 months, or sooner if they are growing fast.