Freqently Asked Questions

Do I need a prescription from my doctor to get a prosthesis or orthosis?

Yes, all devices that we provide require a prescription from a doctor. This is necessary for legal documentation of medical need as well as for insurance reimbursements.

What will I need to bring to my first appointment?

Please bring your doctor’s prescription, current insurance information, and if applicable, your current orthosis or prosthesis even if it is broken or no longer fits.

How long after I am amputated will I get my prosthesis?

This can vary greatly between patients depending upon their post-operative healing process, the cause of the amputation, etc. Generally, when your stitches or staples are removed, your prosthetist will fit your residual limb with a special “shrinker” designed to control swelling and begin the shaping of your residual limb for prosthetic fitting. Once your limb is properly shaped and healed, the fitting process can begin.

Will I need to get therapy after I receive my prosthesis?

Yes, if this is a recent amputation. Therapy “gait training” is an important part of learning to walk with a prosthesis. During the trial walk and delivery your prosthetist will give you very precise training in how to properly use your new device. However, you will need practice with it to become proficient. This is where the therapist can help by monitoring your progress and further training you to walk properly.

How long should my definitive prosthesis last?

In most cases the need for a new prosthesis is due to changes in the size and shape of your residual limb over a period of time. On average and with proper care, your definitive prosthesis should function properly for 3-5 years. If you have questions about the condition or fit of your prosthesis, call our office to schedule an appointment. Your prosthetist will make an evaluation as to your need for a new prosthesis.

How do I know when to add prosthetic socks?

When you receive your leg, your prosthetist will give you both verbal and written instructions about the appropriate use of prosthetic socks. This is one of many reasons why your follow-up appointments are so important. These visits allow your prosthetist to evaluate the current fit of your prosthesis and guide you as to the proper number of socks you should be wearing at that time.

Can I swim or bathe in my prosthesis?

No, most prostheses are not designed to be submerged in water. The only exceptions are prostheses that are specifically designed to be used in water such as a “swim leg” or “shower leg.” However, if your prosthesis gets damp from being caught in a rain shower, simply dry it off as soon as possible and it should be fine.

Will I be able to walk with my prosthesis without the aid of a cane or walker?

Only time will tell. Many people with below the knee and above the knee amputations do not use any type of assistive aid with their prosthesis. Almost everyone will use a walker, crutches or a cane to start off with and then progress from there. Your age, amputation level, overall health, balance and determination will all play a part in answering this question.

What kind of shoes can I wear with my orthosis?

A lace-up style shoe with a moderate heel height is generally recommended but other styles may be used successfully. The shoe should be large enough to accommodate both the brace and your foot, but in most cases a change in shoe size is not necessary.

How long should I wear my orthosis each day?

Your orthotist will discuss the appropriate wearing schedule with you when you receive your brace. This schedule will detail the periods of increasing wearing times until you are able to wear the brace during all waking hours.

My brace no longer fits; will I need a new one?

Some orthoses can be adjusted for growth or physical changes while others will need to be replaced. Your orthotist can make that determination for you at an evaluation appointment.

There are red marks on my leg when I take my brace off at night. Should I be concerned?

Red marks from an orthotic device over soft tissue areas such as your calf may be visible when you first remove your brace. However, this should go away within 30 minutes after removing the brace. If the redness remains, you will need to make an appointment to have that evaluated. Red marks over bony areas such as your ankle bone will need to be addressed immediately so you do not rub a sore over time.

Glossary of Terms

General Terms

Alignment: establishing a specific relationship between a brace or prosthesis and a patient’s limb or body segment
Bilateral: pertaining to two sides of the body
Casting procedure: duplicating a body part’s shape by applying plaster or synthetic material to make a mold of that part
Cervical vertebrae: the first seven bones of the spinal column
CO: certified orthotist
Contracture: a tightening or shortening of a muscle
CP: certified prosthetist
CPO certified prosthetist/orthotist
Donning: the act of putting on an orthosis or prosthesis
Doffing: the act of taking off a prosthesis or orthosis
Drop Foot: a condition in which the toes drag during walking due to an inability to raise the foot voluntarily
Edema: a condition in which tissues retain excess fluid (swelling)
Gait training: the exercise of being taught how to walk with and properly use a prosthesis or orthosis
Hemiplegia: paralysis of only one side of the body
Lateral: pertaining to the outside of the body
Liner: soft material used between the patient’s body and the prosthesis or orthosis for padding
Lumbar vertebrae: the five spinal vertebrae in the lower back
Medial: pertaining to the inside of the body
Neuroma: a “ball” of nerve tissue which is very sensitive to pressure
Orthoses: the plural form of orthosis
Orthosis: a device fitted to the body to protect, stabilize, or immobilize a body part; i.e. a brace
Orthotics: the science of using mechanical appliances for orthopedic use
Orthotist: a professional who designs and fits orthotic devices
Paraplegia: paralysis of the lower part of the body and both legs
Patella: kneecap
Prostheses: the plural form of prosthesis
Prosthesis: an artificial limb
Prosthetist: a professional who designs and fits prosthetic devices
Scoliosis: a lateral (side to side) curvature of the spine
Suspension: the method by which a prosthesis or orthosis is held on to the body
Thoracic vertebrae: the 12 vertebrae that make up the middle segment of the spine
Total contact: total surface area support in an orthosis or prosthesis to diminish excessive pressure in any one area
Unilateral: pertaining to one particular segment of the body
Valgus: bent inward as in “knock-kneed”
Varus: bent outward as in “bow-legged”.

Prosthetic Terms

AK: above knee
Amputation: removal of a limb
Amputee: a person who has had an amputation especially of the arms or legs
Atrophy: a wasting or decrease in the size of muscle tissue
BE: below elbow
BK: below knee
Cosmesis: the outward appearance of a prosthetic device
Cosmetic cover: a foam material covering the mechanical parts of a prosthesis which is shaped to resemble a body segment
Definitive prosthesis: a prosthesis designed for long term use
Disarticulation: amputation through a joint
Endoskeletal: refers to a prosthesis in which the structural strength is internal
Exoskeletal: refers to a prosthesis in which the structural strength is external
HD: hip disarticulation (an amputation of the entire leg at the hip joint)
Hip disarticulation: an amputation through the hip joint
Hemipelvectomy: an amputation of the leg including part of the pelvis
Intermediate prosthesis: an initial prosthesis intended for relatively short term (months) use by a new amputee while the residual limb circumferentially reduces and shapes
KD: knee disarticulation
Knee disarticulation: an amputation through the knee joint
Myoelectric prosthesis: a battery powered prosthesis using sensors on the skin to operate it
Phantom pain: the feeling of pain in a part of the body that is no longer there following amputation
Phantom sensation: the sensation of still feeling a body part although it is not there following an amputation of that body part
Residual limb: the part of the limb that remains after an amputation
Silesian belt: a belt that is used as suspension for an above knee prosthesis
Socket: the portion of the prosthesis in which the residual limb fits
Stump shrinker: a special elastic sock used to reduce the swelling and to shape the residual limb following an amputation
Stump sock: a special sock used with a prosthesis to adjust the fit of the leg or arm in the prosthetic socket
Suspension sleeve: a Neoprene or rubber “sleeve” that helps secure a prosthesis to the body
Syme’s Amputation: through the ankle joint amputation
Terminal device: the functional device at the end of a prosthesis; i.e. a hand or a foot
Test socket: a diagnostic clear socket used to evaluate the fit and comfort of a prosthetic socket before the actual finished socket is fabricated

Orthotic Terms

AFO: ankle foot orthosis (a brace for the lower leg and foot)
Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO): a lightweight brace/splint for the lower leg and foot used to provide stability or to prevent deformities
EO: elbow orthosis
HKAFO: hip knee ankle foot orthosis
HO: hip orthosis
KAFO: knee ankle foot orthosis
KO: knee orthosis
LSO: lumbar sacral orthosis
Spinal orthosis: a brace applied to the neck or back
TLSO: thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis
WHO: wrist hand orthosis

Glossary of Terms

Providing the Ultimate in Care & Rehabilitation since 1991

Conveniently located in the
medical district of Tyler, Texas