Moving and walking are not something you can take for granted when walking with a prosthetic leg. Each movement must be intentional and taken with care. Learning to walk, run, and perform other activities will not happen overnight but with professional physical therapy and mindful practice.
Read on if you’re wondering, “can you walk with two prosthetic legs“ or “how to walk with a prosthetic leg.”
Amputation and Problems with Moving
Movement will be a challenge if you had a leg amputated from above or below the knee. Your balance will change, muscles will need to become stronger, and you cannot give up.
Sometimes problems will arise if the prosthesis is not properly fitted. If it’s too loose, you may see open sores and wounds. If it’s too tight it will have a similar effect. Either way, see your healthcare provider for a better fit.
Common problems include:
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating): Can affect how the prosthesis fits your body and/or cause potential skin issues.
- Changes in the shape of the limb: This is common in the first year after amputation until the tissue settles into a more permanent shape — until it does, it may make walking more difficult.
- Limb weakness: Residual limb weakness may make it difficult to use the prosthesis for extended periods.
Additionally, phantom limb pain may become severe enough to limit your ability to use the prosthesis. Once you’ve ensured the right fit in every way, walking with a prosthetic leg takes a little bit of training.
How to Walk with a Prosthetic Leg
As with any new activity, it’s important to remain patient and open-minded. It’s recommended to use walking aids for the first four to six months, at a minimum.
Here are five tips for walking with a prosthesis.
- Ensure a proper fit.
- Start on parallel bars
- Practice with crutches or a physical therapist for several months before going out on your own.
- It’s important to remember to pick up your foot as you take a step.
- Take it slow — quite literary, one step at a time
Later, you’ll want to experiment with more practical exercises when walking with a prosthetic leg. You’ll want to practice:
- Walk on different surfaces such as carpet, pavement, and uneven terrain
- Try falling down and getting up
- Practice getting in and out of a car from either side
- Practice walking upstairs with your prosthetic leg
- Carry items while walking
To build leg strength while walking with a prosthetic leg is one thing; to maintain strength is another. Here are a few advanced exercises to remain in top form and positively challenge yourself.
- Bounce a ball while standing in place, then walk
- Balance on one leg
- Balance a tall stick on two hands, then one
If you’re wondering, “How hard is it to walk with a prosthetic leg?” the answer is, “learning how to walk with a prosthetic leg takes the time it takes.”
Call Williams Lifts for information on buying or leasing a stairlift for a person with an amputation.